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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

2,136 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,136
Reviews: 868
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 11.75%
Wants: 50
Gots: 174 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 01-12-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,136 | Reviews: 868 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of roadhouse
3.58/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a tulip glass.

Appears reddish brown, somewhat hazy, with a three-quarter inch cream colored head that sinks to a film and leaves a small amount of lacing.

Aroma is very raisiny and sweet with a candied fruit thing going on. Quite good but there's a syrupy quality to it that goes a bit too far.

Taste is again raisiny with candied fruit flavors. There's a decent citrusy hop bitterness to offset the sweetness that I was expecting. The only downside is just how one dimensional it is. It starts the same and finishes the same.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, pretty creamy, and smooth.

This wasn't a bad beer but it just seemed really boring to me. I wouldn't seek it out.

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.53/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a dark reddish-brown body with a small, thinning, white head.

Smell: A scent of freshly opened boxes of raisins overlaying a light, earthy maltiness and notes of sherry and roast.

Taste: Moderately sweet, earthy maltiness with just a slight roastiness. Prominent raisin fruitiness. Light sherry, some spices, and even a dash of coffee. Medium-light bitterness. Hint of alcohol on the drying, lightly astringent finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium-low carbonation.

Drinkability: A bit too sweet and a bit too coarse, though it fits the name.

Photo of Halcyondays
3.65/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle, I assuming this bottle is around a year old,

A: Pours a dark maroon into a goblet. Soft, light cap of off-white foam, soapy lacing around the perimeter of glass.

S: Great smell of aged caramel malt. Heavy on the dark fruit, hard candy.

T: Similar to the smell, but not as sweet as the nose would imply. Strong hop presence of bark and pine. Malt is sweet and syrupy, with a good amount of residual sugar in it. Dried fruit - especially raisin form a major component of brew.

M: Relatively light for the flavours it's carrying, but still has a solid backbone. Light carbonation, not the smoothest going down. Has some thin notes.

D: A solid sipper hybrid of styles I have here. Not blowing me away, but nice enough and good to drink. A solid brew from Lagunitas.

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

Pours clear mahogany with a small tan head. Nice lacing. Aroma is malts, malts, and some fruits. Taste is more of the same, but with a handful of hops thrown in. The alcohol is more prevalent when the beer warms. A strong ale that could pass as a lighter barleywine.

Photo of corby112
3.58/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on tap at St. sStephen's Green in the Fairmount section of Philadelphia.

Pours a dark chestnut brown color with a thin off-white head. Pleasant aroma of dark fruit, maltiness, caramel and spice. Flavor very similar to aroma with strong malty presence as well as some fig, cinnamon and brown sugar notes.

Photo of ProfessorHops
4.18/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Name Known by. The Hairy Eyeball

Brewer's name. Lagunitas

Country. USA

Advertised style. Ale
5 out of 5 (way to go!)* * * * *
Aroma- Plums & fresh fruit... Very nice!!!
Pallet- Strong sharp start. This was cool. Interesting quality of a sour taste with the bitter combined. Maple and wood which are adjectives I use way to much.
Finish- Very long bitter hop. Wood in back.
Guzzle- Drinks hard fast on the first gulp. But when drank slowly Tis' fine brew.
Texture- Feels like orange juice.
Appearance- Handsome and beautiful. But not extraordinary. A very clean pour.
The beer had a very sharp start. Which I found delicious. I loved this ale.

It's been a while since I've had a contemporary robust ale. Ya, last night I had The Beast Grand cru, which is not at all contemporary.

I did notice after drinking that the alcohol volume was 9.0. Whitch is a little high. But not insane.

Again I loved the ale. It was different in many ways. And complex.

There was the sourness combined with the bitter which was unique. Sent my tongue on a voyage. Whitch is always a treat.

So all and all the Strong start, and sour bitter communion was a strong factor in my liking of this brew. A complex long finish was a great gift to the experience as well.


Photo of roblowther
3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Looks cloudy, no, murky, brown with no head and a certain mystery to it that I kind of like. It smells malty, woody, burnt caramel-ie, and other "ieS". Taste is like cola, with a crisp note that cuts through the sweet that dominates it. Surprisingly balanced & maybe attributable to the hops that accompany an "American"... style definitions. Hops definitely come on in the aftertaste. The mouthfeel is sticky & full-bodied. Good for the cold days they don't have in California. Drinkability is not bad, but this is a challenging beer & one I don't think I could put down a lot of. Not a knock on the beer at all, its just that if you're drinking a few, you don't always want to work that hard.

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.

Hairy Eyeball Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 2,136 ratings.