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Hairy Eyeball Ale - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Hairy Eyeball AleHairy Eyeball Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

2,233 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,233
Reviews: 896
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 11.75%
Wants: 49
Gots: 244 | 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: 2,233 | Reviews: 896 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of alleykatking
3.45/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz pour from bottle

A- Pours a nice brown color with red hints when held up to the light. Good 1/4 inch off white/tannish head that melts away leaving little lacing on the sides of the glass.

S- The smells of sweet bready malts along with figs and raisin dominate the body of aroma with hints of caramel and apricot bring up the foreground.

T- From the get go all you can taste is really sugary sweet malts and well....sugary sweet malts. Upon the next couple of sips I realize you can taste a little more of the fruits but it's just faint notes. I can also detect the remains of what might have been a bigger hop bite at the end if I could have bought this fresh.

M- This has a good medium mouthfeel to it. Other than the sugary malts leaving crystals it seems like over the palate it moves gracefully over the palate and down the throat. Carbination was good and almost on the too much side but it evened itself out.

D- I would drink this again if given the chance.

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

A- Brown in color with a red tint and a tan head. Head fades quickly to a ring and leaves a minimal lacing on the glass.

S- Sugar, raisins, figs, caramel, and malt swirl up from the glass.

T- Sweet malts and sugars stand out at first. This is then tempered down by the notes of fruit and caramel. The finish lingers with a slightly bitter final note.

M- More than medium bodied and a little on the syrupy side . Finish is fairly clean in spite of the thick mouthfeel.

D- Somewhat of a sipper, it hides the 8.8% ABV pretty well, but it is overly sweet.

If it was just the fruit adding the sweetness this would be a winner, but I suspect there is some extra sugar in there as well, making this just too sweet.

Photo of jgap
2.63/5  rDev -31.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Pours a deep red with a sizeable cream- color head that fades to a good lace. Smell is a sweet, sugary caramel and... Is that cheese? Taste is immediately sweet malt. LOT of sweet malts. It's syrupy and really sweet. I think it tastes more like a Maibock. Once you muddle through the sugar slush, there is a very light hop that quickly becomes alcohol which fades into the aftertaste. It's really just too sweet for me. Mouthfeel is syrup. Not that drinkable. I love lagunitas but I'm not sure about this one

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

12 ounce twist-off* from Hollingshead's, on to the beer:

A soft, whispy head sits on top this dark colored amber beer. It's holding up well in the meantine, and leaves some traces of lacing on the glass. Aroma....figs, cider, faint apricot, prunes...is this a winter warmer on crack? Very sweet nose as well. Tastes like a tradtional winter warmer too. But it's June dammit! Nonetheless, it still tastes nice. Some brown sugar, prunes, spruce and fig notes. English pudding too. Soft and medium bodied in the mouth, but with texture, and there's little (if any) booze felt.

Here it is for all you winter warmer lovers who want an imperial version, The Hairy Eyeball. Recommended as I drink this in June in SoCal...which must mean its better in the winter.

* Twisted-off with the bottom of my Erdinger Champ bottle. See, I told you I would use it to open a bottle.

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

A deep dark clear amber body with a thick offwhite head, light to meduim carbonation , lots of lacing left on the glass. Aroma is of sweet caramel malt , with a bit of spicy hops,and just a hint of alcohol. Flavor is rich like caramelized sugar,rasins and dry malt grains,with some zesty piny hop notes,honey, a little spice like maybe peppercorn or something like that but very faint, full body with a smooth texture, nice malty finish, the 9% ABV was well hidden. This was a really good drinker, I plan to buy more.

Photo of donkeyrunner
3.6/5  rDev -6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Lagunitas is pulling a Magic Hat by giving their beer a ridiculously obscure name not hinting the buyer at what it is. I hate that. Next thing you know they'll have slogans printed under the caps saying "Willy's got no teeth!," or some such crap. Anywho...

Clear dark blood orange color with a thin tan head. Fades quick to a thin skim and showy collar.

Smells sweetly of melted hard candy balanced by Rollo candy caramels. Good balance.

Jolly rancher beer with cola-esque caramel. Again, nice balance. Mild herbal hop spice and no sign of a 8.7% abv. Syrupy mouthfeel.

Photo of BenJames1984
4.22/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Let me start off by saying that Lagunitas has never let me down. This is no exception.

I poured this from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance- A rich brown color, with a touch of ruby. Thin white head that dissipated after about five minutes, with minimal lacing.

Smell- Notes of raisin, and a bit of sweet bread as well.

Taste- Very balanced with a nice malty backing. Very sweet, with just a tease of hoppiness. Amazing.

Mouthfeel- lightly carbonated, but goes down very smooth.

Drinkability- I love this beer, and could see myself buying more in the future. I could probably drink about 2 of these, maybe three in a session.


Photo of elniko
3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into Chimay goblet.

A: Dark almost ruby coloring with oily head and less lacing than I expected. Carbonation apparent but not heavy. Good looking brew.

S: I get some toffee tones from the nose, alcohol tones as well mixed in with just a tinge of hoppiness. Not a terribly strong nose in my opinion.

T & M: Very nice, medium bodied beer for the high ABV. I get some raisin along with the toffee tones from the nose up front along with maltiness with a nice hoppy finish that I would expect from a Lagunitas brew. Balance is spot on.

D: For such a high ABV very drinkable, although I don't think I'll be having again as this is very hard to find in DFW. I got the last one in the only store that I found it at.

Photo of ThoughtPolice
4.05/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Vigorous pour into a goblet

Pours a deep ruby/pomegranate red. Beautimous color when viewed with a light behind it. Khaki head of 1 finger, falls quickly. Leaves copious lacing at first, then spotty after head falls.

Strong sweetness, hops are overshadowed and not noticeable to me. (my preference would be to bump that aroma/flavor presence a little bit)
I get grapes, raisins, faint biscuit, faint alcohol. Something fruity is in the background.

Alcohol well-masked is the first thing I wrote down, and it's for sure.
I get raisins, faint citrus, malty sweetness (though I can't get much more specific on the malt flavor) Hop bitterness comes out in the finish
Taste lingers as back of mouth sourness/bitterness. I like it

Right carbonation level
Mid to thick mouthfeel, leaning toward mid range, really...
Sticky lips. But it's a little thin, I'd say, for the style.

Good, but not top notch. This particular specimen may have spent too long in the fridge (~1 month). I say it's one step away from being a barley wine, and that might be where it should be taken on the next batch.

Photo of unclejimbay
4.22/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Hairy Eyeball Ale
Lagunitas Brewing Company
Style: American Strong Ale
ABV: 8.80 %, reviewed from E Street JB - 5/14/09

I really enjoyed this brew. I had not had it before, so I eventually got another because it tasted so good. I found this to be the best tasting Lagunitas brew that I have enjoyed to date IMO.

It is a dark brown color. Tastes include; caramelized malt, dark brown sugars and molasses without being overly sweet. Sweet notes are well balanced with the hop presence. The high ABV is well hidden with this bold medium+ to full bodied beer.

I would drink this beer as one of my first choices any time I see it available and I want a Strong Ale. Especially if it is 2-4-1 happy hour at E St!

Photo of flexinwext
3.8/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Very dark mahogany color. 2-3 finger tannish head. Lots of lacing. The aroma is so sweet it reminds me of lemonade and cookie dough. Very malty and sugary taste. Tastes almost like brown sugar in beer version. Not much bitter taste in the front but the aftertaste reminds me of a barleywine. Overall a great beer. A little high in ABV to drink too many but I'm definitely good for 2 or 3.

Photo of DavoleBomb
4.4/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter.

4.5 A: Opaque dark brown with a tan colored head. Good retention and lots of lacing.

4.0 S: Nose is very perculiar. Biggest aroma is Spaghetti O's. Tomatoe sauce, orange, other light fruits and a strong vegetable component.

5.0 T: This is very tasty and very complex. There's a caramel backbone with a dozen fruits and vegetables contributing. Flavors that stand out are orange, tomatoes, and plum.

4.5 M: Good carbonation. Nice and creamy. Well done.

4.5 D: What an odd and surprisingly awesome beer. This is tasy enough to drink several more times.

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

a: dark brown / ruby red, mild head finishes with a ring, nice lacing, little bubbly activity
s: very sweet brown sugar-raisin-y aromas
t: very sweet malts -- brown sugar, on the verge of barleywine-like bitterness, finishes with mix of alcohol and bitterness
m: medium to thick body with carbonated burst at the finish
d: considering i enjoy barleywines, this is more drinkable, but might not be so approachable for everyone

Photo of brewdoc75
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've had this in the fridge for a few months. I drank half the six pack when I got it. Time to review it.

A: Beautiful mahogany amber color. Soft, off white head is everlasting. Good lace.

S: Fruity, sweet caramel and toffee. A touch of prune/raisen. Slight hoppy aroma with citrus undertones. A touch of alcohol.

T: More of the aroma with plenty of sweet maltiness. Emphasis on the caramel and toffee. Definitely has a fruity component leaning towards that of a dubbel. The hops are just enough to keep it bitter and interesting with some citrus.

M: Medium bodied brew. Good carbonation. Finishes clean and crisp.

D: This is a good winter style. Reminds me of an Americanized dubbel overall. I enjoyed it on a nice 70 degree day after dinner, but I think it would be better at about 20 degrees on an autumn or winter day. Does every beer this brewery put out taste so good?

Photo of donteatpoop
3.58/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a clear brown color with zero head.

Had some coffee notes to the nose.

The taste was much the same in respect to the coffee, lots of hops as well.

A little dry in the mouth, but overall a good mouth feel.

Decent beer, don't know that I'd seek it out in the future.

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

"Life is uncertain. Don't sip." - Words of advice from Lagunitas

A thin patch of sand-looking head formed from the pour. Its presence wasn't expected to stay long and before I could even finish typing these first few sentences, it did indeed evaporate leaving behind only a loose soapy trim and a small ensemble of bubbles. The colour is a lucid cranberry with, if it weren't for the deep tone, perfect clarity.

With its bouquet of sappy pine, rich caramel, sweet molasses, sugary confections and array of dark fruits (and I'm sure I'm missing plenty) I'd say this resembles a blend of 60% English old ale and 40% American barleywine. It is ultra rich, ultra strong and ultra delectable. This is the kind of potency and nuance that most brewers have to resort to barrel aging to find.

Lagunitas does not mess around. The beer itself tastes great which is no wonder because each of the individuals flavours that comprise it would taste great on their own anyhow: brandy-centered chocolates, chewy toffee, port soaked blackberries, candied cherries and plenty of rich caramel coated biscuits. The profile is undeniably beer but it draws on similarities to red wine and strongly steeped black teas.

Sweetness is the king of this jungle. Bitterness makes a good grab at power but ultimately it's this long boiled malts, fortified wine-like sweetness that prevails. With it comes a great deal of fruitiness and caramelization as well as a hefty kick of alcohol. Every time I've had the Hairy Eyeball I've remarked on how easy it is to drink; it's never misleading about the 8.8% but it sure is easy going about it.

California is without doubt the most competitive of American states as far as craft breweries go. Of all its many great micros I have no reservations about calling Lagunitas one of my favourites. They not only have a charming attitude towards work and life, as illustrated in their hilarious write ups and company mentality, but a kick-ass lineup of beer to boot. Lagunitas: don't stop what you're doing because I don't ever want to stop drinking it.

Photo of srandycarter
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Clear Brown with a thick brownish head, leaves to ring.

S - Sweet malt, candy like, somewhat deep.

T - BIG malt, great balls of fire. Definite bitter finish, but enough?

M - Good coating and carb, but a little cloying.

D - Nice offer to try!

Photo of wcudwight
4.2/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks mikesgroove. Although we receive Lagunitas in NC, I've never tried this beer nor have I seen it on shelves. So I'm excited about this.
Cola colored that shines more ruby when held up to the light. Nice thick beige colored head with excellent retention.
Brown sugar and dark fruits in the aroma. Grapes, cherries, even some pear.
Lot's of caramel in the flavor with some brown sugar. Very sweet tasting, yet still quite balanced. Similar fruity flavors in the taste that was in the aroma. Grapes, cherries, pears. Also some toasted raisin bread. Nice spicy kick in the finish. Excellent beer that is both complex and balanced.
Thick heavy mouthfeel that coats and leaves a creaminess.
Easy to drink. The alcohol is noticable but not overbearing in the least. I'll be looking for this one in the future.

Photo of Gyle41386
3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a dark mahogany that looks crimson when held to light. Two fingers of tan head. Decent retention. Leaves loads of lacing.

Big caramel malt presence in the aroma. There's also some piney hops, wood, and dark fruit.

Pretty sweet flavor. The raisin flavor is a big contributor to the sweetness. Tons of malt. There's a faint hop bitterness in the finish. This is just a bit too sweet.

Pretty heavy body, but a pretty smooth drinker.

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

A- Pours a nice dense coffee color head. The head pours about one finger. Nice lacing on the glass. Amber mahogany in color.

S- Heavy carmel, toffee, mocha, fruit aromas of cherry and raisins. Slight earth smell.

T- Raisin, sweet carmel, toffee and fruit. Strong hop taste, fruit and earthiness. Nice bitterness that turns into a slight dry finish. Long carmel and fruitiness with a aftertaste. The beer coasts the tongue long after your sip is done.

M- Heavy body. Carbonation is a perfect.

D- Nice beer couldn't drink all night but is a great winter time beer.

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

On tap at Lagunitas night at Davis Grad

A - Dark mahogany, with a one-fingered orange-white head. Dissipates moderately and leaves no lacing.

S - Chocolate, honey, and toffee.

T - Same as above, lightly bitter.

M - Full-bodied, well-balanced, sweet and tangy.

D - Not bad, but would like more flavors, perhaps more spices.

Photo of bort11
4.15/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

mikesgroove sent this one with the Fight Club: Project Mayhem BIF.

12 oz bottle pored into a shaker pint. Half inch of off white head. Leaves a nice ring at the top. Color is a dark ruby red. You can only see any light when held to the light.

Smell is a sweet brown sugar and caramel malt. A little dried oranges. Taste is also quite sweet. Brown sugar again, though the orange citrus from the hops stands out more.

Mouthfeel is silky smooth with a thick body. Very nice strong ale.

Blipped "Eyeball Kid" by Tom Waits

Photo of TheTrevor
4.15/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured a dark red with purple highlights and a single-finger head. The smell is a mix of many different things, including toasted malt, at least a couple kinds of hops, dark fruit, molasses, and alcohol. The taste starts off with a sweet candylike malt that reminds me of a belgian tripel that gives way to some grassy then citrusy hops that balance it out very well. This is a beer that deals in extremes while remaining very tasty. The mouthfeel is slightly thick with a little slickness and warming from the alcohol, with mild carbonation. This beer is surprisingly drinkable for a high ABV beer with a fair amount of hops. Great beer, everyone should try it at least once.

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

bottle poured into tulip glass

A: rich amber color and medium strong head that dissipated halfway through to leave one little disk of foam.

S: as others have noted, this is a complex brew, with layers of scent and flavor, but the alcohol and hops were the first impressions.

T: Other than a rich hops and malt taste, I first noticed the raisin (someone else nailed that). I get a lot of sweetness from it, but nothing so specific as "toffee" or whatever. A bitter aftertaste.

M: quality carbonation keeps this peppy without seeming gassy; far from flat. It's a great beer to swirl around a bit, and I do recommend you drink it slowly (I know the ABV should suggest that to you, but this is a bit on the sweet side, so there's a chance you could chug it...)

D: It's rich and a bit heavy, not to mention sweet, but that doesn't mean you can't drink a few. I don't know that I'd drink it with some other beer to follow.

Photo of farrago
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thin head with good retention, mixture of bubble sizes knit together well, dark cream white in color, moderate lacing. Dark brown to red in color, perfect clarity, richness of hue keeps it sitting impressively in the glass. Thickly constructed nose of toffee, caramel, brown sugar, raisin, date, plum fruit, some doughiness but not a lot of roast or toast, nothing beyond minor presence of hoppy citrus or flowers, malt city. In the mouth it's full-bodied and heavy, pretty much squats on the palate. This even with credibly strong carbonation. There's more pine and mixed white citrus here, however, the smart money is still on the toffee, chocolate, caramel and honey flavors. The fruit as in the nose half raisin and date, half plum and cherry. Its cloying qualities make it pull up short rather than extend through a longer finish. Flavor intensity is a plus, just wears you down some, not sure I could finish two bottles in a row without feeling bloated.

Hairy Eyeball Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 2,233 ratings.