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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

2,104 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,104
Reviews: 861
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 12.01%
Wants: 48
Gots: 156 | 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: 2,104 | Reviews: 861 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of zeff80
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a cloudy, burgandy color with a thin, bubbly, off-white head. No lace.

S - It smelled of molasses, caramel, dried fruits. Some floral and grassy notes.

T - It tasted a little boozy with a powerful, malty caramel taste. There were dried cherry and plum flavors, too.

M - It was soft, smooth and chewy. A medium-bodied beer.

D - This is a nice strong ale. Fairly easy-drinking despite the powerful ABV.

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

Pours a three finger cream head that fades slowly to a thin layer, leaving some lace. Deep mahogany color. Medium carbonation and medium bodied. Molasses nose. Flavor is sweet/roasted molasses some bitterness at finish. Higher ABV hidden and the high IBU (96.7) is not in your face. $1.67 for a 12oz bottle from Manchester Wine and Liquors Manchester, CT.

Photo of BWMKappaSig
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle, aged 6 months, served in a tulip glass.

Appearance: Off-white head on a mahogany body.

Smell: Sweet caramel malt and roasted notes dominate the nose. A little fruit is present; barely any hops.

Taste: A slightly astringent alcohol taste is present along with a roasted maltiness that sweetens as it warms. This is reminiscent of fruitcake, but not necessarily in a bad way.

Mouthfeel: Thick, but with a very apparent alcohol note.

Drinkability: Hangover in a bottle if not enjoyed in moderation. The alcohol taste is immediately apparent, if not slightly dominating. Enjoyable but drink with caution.

*Edit - 08/10/09 - Edit*
After another 11 months, I tried another from the same six pack. The alcohol has mellowed considerably and a fruity complexity is far more apparent. The comparison to a fruitcake still stands and sweet dark fruits are more evident in the nose.

Photo of changeup45
3.83/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

The name is funny. There is nothing funny about the beer. Pours a deep amber color topped with a thin head. Aroma is quite sugary and alcoholic with plums and maybe some figs. The flavor consists of toasted malts, a rush of alcohol and sugars along with some dark fruit character; plums, figs and molasses. A real solid sipper while being easy to drink.

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

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep reddish brown color, with a thin off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of caramelized malts, dark fruits and some hops.

T: The taste is sweet, very malty and kind of buttery up front with flavors of dark fruit and caramel. There's a mild but complimentary hops presence that provides a nice balance. The 8.80% ABV is nearly undetectable. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down dangerously easily, not too filling, deceptively strong kick, this is a very good beer to drink for a while if you want to try pounding a stronger beer.

Photo of argock
4.25/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12oz brown bottle into a 10oz goblet.

A: Very dark caramel in color with a thin cap of light tan head with the sides of the glass stippled with spots of lace.

S: The smell requires some warming but is very good including pineapple, dark fruits, brown sugar, maple, and light cinnamon and clove with the faintest trace of alcohol.

T: Exceptional flavor that grows in sweetness and maltiness with warming. Delicious dark fruit flavors lead with sweet maple and brown sugar coming in the middle followed by a fairly crisp herbal hops spiciness. There is a lot of yeast flavor as well and a very pleasant warming alcohol flavor in the finish.

M: Very creamy and rich with smoothness that usually is trampled by alcohol vapors in many second-rate strong ales. Sweet dark fruit and malt aftertaste with a pretty dry finish.

D: An excellent strong ale that stands up to the best in this style. Lagunitas brews definitely deserve more attention! This is a fine beer.

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

Poured from a 12oz bottle - says 9% ABV, OG 1.090, IBU-56.7.

A deep clear mahogany color. Small off-white head that stays well. Some lacing.

Granny smith apple-esque smell with some malt aromas.

Some licorice taste and a little alcohol burn. Has a sweet taste.

Goes down well with a slight alcohol burn in the throat. Full bodied.

A beer that would be excellent in autumn or early winter. Great session beer.

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

Deep, deep chestnut color. Nice malty aroma with a heavy hand of hops thrown in for good measure. Solid malty flavor up front. Treacle and caramel flavors. Strong hop presence. Somewhat syrupy sweet. Lingering bitterness and a slight dryness as the sweetness fades. Good solid body-very full. I get a lot of strong ales of this abv with an alcohol burn present-none here. Good solid effort form a great brewery. Not over the top like some US strongs.

Photo of Goliath
4.03/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep brown, appears ruby in the light. A large inch and a half of light tan head forms on top. Nice retention and a bit of lacing.

Aroma is nice. A subdued citrus hoppiness, with some sweet caramel. Also some pine and grain.

Taste is pretty nice. A subtle citrus hop note followed by a good maltiness. Strong hints of grain, caramel, and pine.

Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with plenty of carbonation.

Drinkability is fairly high. Alcohol is moderate, and flavor is good making for a nice and easily consumed beer.

Photo of CrellMoset
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from Wine Warehouse in Charlottesville, VA. Poured into a traditional American pint glass.

Appearance: A surprisingly clear but deep brown-bodied beer with garnet highlights. Very fine and active carbonation in this one. A slightly off-white head fades slowly and leaves thick, solid sheets of lacing.

Aroma: Thick swaths of highly roasted malts - brown sugar, molasses particularly - and dark, fruity esters - cherries, figs. A few spices - light and airy, hints of cinnamon?

Taste: Hmmmm. A very subtle mouth. Sweet, with light brown sugar being the predominant malt note. More tart fruit notes than in the nose - citrus, cherry, and a few darker, reduced notes. The malt that is there is balanced well by a spicy bitterness - perhaps the origin of the citrus.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and fairly thick, with a fairly even and fine-bubbled feel. Finishes smooth but thick.

Drinkability: Much less malty than the other Lagunitas strong ale that's commonly available (the Brown Shugga'), and a little more up my alley - more complex, more subtle. That being said, the abv% is still up there, so be careful. Interesting, and I'd recommend giving it a shot at least once.

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of Secret Santa: Poured a deep dark brown color ale with an average foamy head with average retention and no lacing. Aroma of big caramel malt is quite imposing and dominating. Taste is also dominated by some heavy caramel malt with some notes of bitter hops. Lacking some floral or citrus notes with not as much hops as I was expecting considering the brewery. Full body with average carbonation and no discernable alcohol. This one was a bit of a surprise considering the lack of hops (yes there is a lot but not as much as I would expect from Lagunitas) but the malt was very efficient.

Photo of rye726
4.15/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Posiibly more of an American Barley than a Strong Ale.

Rich amber color with a foamy tan head.

The nose is sweet with some balancing hops. Alcohol is well hidden.

The taste is also on the sweet side with lots of residual sugars. The floral hops keep a good balance.

The body is full yet goes down well. This is a damn good brew whatever it is. Up there with Old Gnarly.

Photo of erosier
3.18/5  rDev -17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

L: Pours a deep amber color with a very short tan head that fades to a ring around the glass. Some lacing on the way down.
S: Smells of deep roasted malts, some piney hops, and a hint of alcohol at the end.
T: The taste is of a deep roasted malty base underneath a piney and earth hoppy bitterness followed by a hint of alcohol.
M: Very heavy, warming, and a good amount of carbonation.
D: Pretty good. I could drink the whole thing and although there was some alcohol present it didn't feel like 9% abv beer.

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

It's been awhile since I had Brown Shugga, but after my first sip, the first thought I had was "this reminds me of Brown Shugga." Which I suspected, and then confirmed, is made by the same brewery. Not a knock on the brew, by any means.

Pours a dark ruddy amber. Small white head vanishes quickly, leaving a thin whit ecrust behind.

Smells sweet and fruity. Mostly citrus and malt, but definitely some tropical overtones.

Taste is robust and definitely packs an alcohol wallop. There's even a slight burn. Mouthfeel is nicely carbonated and light, despite the heavy alcohol. Lots of sweet malt, some grapefruit hops, and tons of juicy citrus and tropical fruit. And, is that melon?

Interesting, I'd definitely revisit.

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

Pours cola colored deep brown with light tan head.

Nose has some baked dessert species, brown sugar, and brown bread.

Palate is caramel sweet, balanced nicely with hops, and just a little warmth on the finish.

Alcohol is very nicely concealed. Too drinkable for such a strong ale.

Photo of animal69
3.7/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

pours a deep mahogany brown with a modest head which dissipates quickly leaving a light lacing in my snifter ; a strong smell, cereal grains, dark fruits, caramels, alcohol and licorice, a touch of hops and smoke detected as well ; a rich, sweet, malty flavor full of nuts, dates and fig well balanced with hop bitterness ; a full bodied brew with moderate carbonation ; not a bad beer at all, pretty drinkable for a 9% ABV...

Photo of Proteus93
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: A nice reddish brown... just short of being a ruby red under the light. Offwhite, semi-creamy head leaves a thin sheet over the surface.

S: A nice balance between the malt and hops aromas here. Somewhat sweet maltiness with a little pine-leaning hop aroma.

T + M: Some figgy dark fruit flavours. Toasted malts and a little bit of a caramel hint. A touch of hoppy arrogance that really steps out about halfway through a mouthful, almost immediately the sweet caramel flavour. Finishes maybe a little thick, but acceptable... quite full, rich, and big all the way down, which likely plays into that.

D: Flavours get a little rich after a while and could even start skirting on feeling a bit cloying. This can be prevented by taking it easy. It's a pretty tasty brew, but more of a one at a time thing.


Photo of brewcrew76
3.3/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Copper, mahogany with a thin tan head.

S - Sweet, nutty, biscuit, caramel and toffee.

T - Lightly toasted malt, sweet caramel, alcohol and a touch of hops.

M - Medium body and slightly cloying.

D - Malty and slightly boozy making it a bit cloying. Hard to have more than 1 in a sitting. Reminds me of a milder version of brown shugga.

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

From notes:

Dark brown body, good reddish-orange highlighting. Head is tan, not much left in the snifter after a professional pour, but the lacing turns out to be fabulous.

Seems nicely balanced and also nicely huge in the nose. Quite a lot of strong-ale hopping, citric and pine, with a backing of certain dark spices. Malts are also heavily represented here, with big caramel sweetness.

Hard hitter, the Eyeball. Lots of big, thick, syrupy sweetness, fat mouthfeel, and great complexity. Mainly there's a lot of caramel malt, backed up with some smokiness, and balancing the initially citric, but strongly pine-infused hops.

Not as spicy as I remember from the bottle, but still very complex and tasty, not to mention quite large. Recommended.

Photo of Taffle
3.58/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The Eyeball was eye-candy being poured into the glass. Appeared thick and rich with cola-like color. Head retention was a bit weak but maintained a lasting lace around the edges.

Fig and spice sweetened the nose with some hoppiness to livin' it up a bit.

The taste had a hoppy, slightly bitter introduction followed by a rich, malty finish. Bold and delicious.

The mild carbonation and maltiness represented a rich texture with tons of body.

Overall, a superb brew with some kick. Highly recommened for American Strong Ale advocates.

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

A : Pours a reddish brown with a good white head that sticks around for a while. Good lacing also

S : Lots of alcohol and malt

T : Starts off with a lot of hops, followed by a strong malt flavor with a little bitterness at the finish

M : Good carbonation

D : Really good and easy drinking. You don't feel the alcohol

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

Poured into a pint glass pours an impressive reddish brown with some serioud head that leaves some thick fat lace on the glass. Smell is very sweet with hints of raison and maple in there also a bit of sweet molasses. Taste is pretty awesome of raison with malt backbone and a bit of a hop bitterness. This is pretty awesome stuff and rivals what some of the other big players are doing out their for their strong ales, In my book simply put, awesome stuff.

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

Short stubby brown 12oz glass bottle with a twist-off cap. Classic Lagunitas label which claims 9% ABV.
Beautiful mahogany ruby clear body with good carbonation. Creamy tan head with small bubbles. Good retention and lace.
Caramel and citrusy smell. Dark ripe cherries, banana and prunes, almonds with grassy hops and a touch of hay.
Sweet malty flavor with a spiked hop lining. Almonds, prunes, some cherry, vanilla and faint alcohol. The aftertaste is a stronger hop character, still spiked and more alcoholic..
Full body and some coating with a slick note. Slightly dry finish.
Very enjoyable and drinkable.


Photo of Portertime
4.22/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I love the name of this beer, it's great. Should have been the name of their double IPA though but I digress. Poured a nice dark reddish brown with a wee head. The nose was refreshing with sweet milk chocolate notes and a hint of citrus. The taste was equally malty but balanced well with the hops and fairly smooth on the palate. It was warming but you don't notice the hefty ABV too much in the taste.

Photo of ZimZamZoom
3.8/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a 12 oz. twisty into a tulip glass. Appears dark brown in the glass, and reveals a beautiful ruby color when held up to the light. Medium sized tan head does not leave anything in the lacing department.

Mildly sour and metallic aroma, with some roasted malts and alcohol behind it all. I get no hops. Taste is initially somewhat metallic as well, but quickly becomes sweet with malt and then results in a warm alcohol finish with not a lot of evident bitterness. When it's all done and I have not taken a sip for several minutes I can still think about it and taste a sour aspect of this beer. I'm not sure if it was intended or not, but it's not unpleasant.

This beer is big bodied and definitely a sipper. The more it warms (and the more it warms me up) I can really start to appreciate it. Not for the faint of heart or the newly converted.

Hairy Eyeball Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 2,104 ratings.