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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

1,931 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,931
Reviews: 846
rAvg: 3.82
pDev: 11.78%
Wants: 35
Gots: 108 | 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: 1,931 | Reviews: 846 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ReDave


3.7/5  rDev -3.1%

12 oz stubby bottle. I think it's about 7 months old. Pours a caramel brown, thin off white head. Not much aroma [too old???], maybe a slight malty smell. Some lacing. Seems to have mellowed since last tasting. In the past I've preferred the Brown Shugga version, but this is tasting pretty good. Nice hop aftertaste.
My bottle says 9% [rounding up?]
Wish now I'd saved a couple of more of these for cellaring.

07-15-2006 04:23:51 | More by ReDave
Photo of RedHaze


4.28/5  rDev +12%

Pours dark mahogany, with quarter inch head that quickly recedes to a thin swirling cap leaving behind a fine webbing of lace.

Smell; nice piney hops right up front, followed by brown sugar and caramel, with some figs and maybe dates.

Taste; as with the smell, those pine tree hops hit you at first. The malts have a nice solid presence with caramel, brown sugar and with some hints of toffee. This also has a nice, alcohol soaked, dark fruity presence underneath the hops and malts, with dates, figs and just some hints of cherries. Mouthfeel is thick and a bit syrupy, with low carbonation. Drinkability would have been even higher if not for the high abv.

05-30-2006 00:54:36 | More by RedHaze
Photo of Skidz


4.38/5  rDev +14.7%

Pours out bright copper brown and sits a dim mohagany in the glass with a large, beige head, fading to a light skim with decent lacings.

Smells of brown sugary malts, rich and toasty with raisins and dates protruding through the background. Spicy hops push through a layer of alcohol, with cinnamon lining the fringe.

Tastes solidly malty up front, mild-moderate sweetness, lots of caramel and toasty grains. Assertive hops bitterness showboats for awhile, delivering zesty citrus, pine and sharp, biting grassy flavors. Settles out into an entaglement of malts and hops, well-balanced finish.

Smooth and creamy core with up-front, crisp, light carbonation and a full body.

An easy drinking strong ale, despite higher hops bitterness, it still pans out well.

05-11-2006 02:57:44 | More by Skidz
Photo of cubedbee


4.2/5  rDev +9.9%

Pours a deep amber brown with two fingers of beige head that takes its time to subside. Pretty nice lacing on the glass. Nose is full of dark malt, figs, raisins, a hint of molasses, and a slight tinge of alcohol--smells decadent. Taste starts off with a sweet molasses malt, followed rum-soaked fruitiness, raisin and cherry really coming through, with a nice piney and bitter hop balance towards the end. Very nice tasting, complex enough to be interesting, nicely balanced. Medium bodied and fairly creamy, this isn't as full as expected. This is a pretty easy drinking strong ale, I could drink two or three if getting drunk isn't an issue.

05-06-2006 15:58:17 | More by cubedbee
Photo of kgotcher


4.1/5  rDev +7.3%

Pours dark with light amber tint with a bit of a tan head that goes away pretty quick. Aroma is malty with dark fruit, raisin, prune, and rich molasses syrup. Full mouthfeel with smooth aftertaste, a bit salty. Taste is buiscut with some dark roasted malt, earthy piney hops oak, and prunes. There is some serious depth to this beer, reminds me of some dipa's and also some imp stouts. Very complicated. Definately a sipper beer with some alchohol warmth. This is one of those beers that does not fit into a nice neat catagory but is very enjoyable anyway.

04-12-2006 05:35:46 | More by kgotcher
Photo of IntriqKen


4.47/5  rDev +17%

Pours a black-amber with a nice white 2 one finger head that melts quickly to a beautiful lace which stays with the drink all of the way.
Aroma is sweet raisins...very much raisins with a little bit of chocolate.
Taste is as it smells but oh, so much more so. Definately raisins...definately chocolate....alcohol taste....nice bitterness follows. Really a nice balance for such a strong brew.
Mouthfeel is creamy but a little thin...I think because of the strong presence of alcohol.
Aftertaste of bitter chocolate, toasted malts, and alcohol.
This is really a very flavorful strong American ale.
Once a night is enough, but every night would be wonderful. ;-)
I have revisited this brew many times since my first review. It is now a year later and I love it more than ever.
Nothing has changed from my review with the exception of I might be discovering more and appreciating more.
Good stuff.

04-01-2006 03:56:59 | More by IntriqKen
Photo of apintofknowledge

New Jersey

4.6/5  rDev +20.4%

Pours a deep dark ruby-brown with a thin tan head. The aroma is very rich... with raisins and chocolate coming through... come to think of it, it smells like rasinettes, only with more fruit, and a little spice too. (OK, a year ago I would have called someone insane for saying their beer smelled like a raisinette... guess I'm now insane!)

The taste immediately strikes me as rich, big, bold and complex... it's almost overwhelming. There's this big plump raisin and cherry sweetness that goes into a chocolatey middle, finishing with an earthy charred and roasted finish that's initially a bit too bitter but mellows completely as the beer warms in my goblet. There's a port-like quality to this beer, and it's truly ment to be sipped, savored and enjoyed like a port.

A low carbonation goes just perfect with the syrupy thickness. As I drink, I notice a slight diacetyl (butterscotch) flavor, but in this case it melds very well with the rest of the flavors in this beer.

The label says "Beer Speaks. People Mumble." and this beer certainly speaks to me. Truly a unique, complex and wonderful beer well worth seeking out!

03-30-2006 03:54:35 | More by apintofknowledge
Photo of jakester


4.1/5  rDev +7.3%

I got this as a single at Union Jack's on the Manatawny. I drank it in a goblet. Some indecipherable code is ink jetted on the neck of the bottle. Just gimme the friggin' date!

Pours a very dark, clear garnet/brown with a 1/2 finger head of tan foam. Carbonation appears moderate. The head falls to a nice coating, with minimal lacing.

Aroma is dark malts and fruits like plums and raisins, dark brown sugar, maybe a hint of vanilla, and a touch of alcohol at the end. Smells good!

First flavor is dark brown sugar followed quickly by rum soaked dark raisins, plums, and dark cherries. Hop bitterness is there for balance, and hop flavor is pretty low. I swear there is a slight smokiness going on in there as well. Very tasty brew. Alcohol comes through as it warms, which IMO adds a nice touch. Aftertaste is sweet and heat.

Mouthfeel is full bodied, smooth and creamy. Carbonation is medium. Lips are sticky from residual sugar. Back of the throat is warm from alcohol. Finish is warm and sticky. (Reach down and pull your mind out of the gutter, dammit!)

This is a very tasty beverage, full of flavor. Richly malty, nice ABV, with just enough hops to balance it nicely. Lagunitas is a good brewery, with a great imagination. Keep it coming, guys!

03-25-2006 17:20:57 | More by jakester
Photo of briman


4.22/5  rDev +10.5%

Served from bottle in standard pint glass.

Pours a hazy reddish brown, mahogany. Very thin slightly tan head dissipated quickly.

Smell is very malty, no obvious trace of hops in the aroma.

Taste is sweet and malty from start to finish, hops are evident primarily in a slight lingering bitterness in the finish.

Medium to full bodied, smooth and very well balanced. Strong on both malt flavors and hop presence, but nothing overwhelms. Warming effect very evident. Probably a beer I could have one or two of in a sitting.

03-24-2006 03:26:49 | More by briman
Photo of bennetj17


3.83/5  rDev +0.3%

Deep brown with reddish hues, slim tan foam that leaves a nice swirly top throughout the experience. Good lacing to boot. Aroma of slight alcohol eminates, with notes of raisin, caramel and and a firm hop smell. Taste is strong, high on the hops and malt, with a chocolatey flavor that is very sweet, blending into a bitter finish. The alcohol is quite noticible in the finish also. Semi-thick feel on the palate, coats well, with good carbonation. The flavors are nice, but perhaps too intense for some, as with the alcohol. This lowers the drinkablilty, but overall a nice one to try. Being a strong ale it doesn't really have an identity, just expect massive flavor from this brew...

03-10-2006 23:30:47 | More by bennetj17
Photo of joedon


4.13/5  rDev +8.1%

Rich dark brown color with ruby highlights. Ivory head of about 3/4 inch that dissipates rapidly but leaves nice lace behind.

Mild aroma of caramel, burnt raisins and malt.

Rich flavor with layers of thick malt, toffee, caramel, burnt sugar and nice hop edge for balance. Reminds me a lot of Bigfoot.

Very drinkable sipping beer. Really close to American Barley Wine in style.

03-05-2006 23:59:48 | More by joedon
Photo of Foxman

New Jersey

4.38/5  rDev +14.7%

It came to me a clear mahogany, highlighted by ruby flashes and carbonation. A finger of reddish-tinged, off-white head dwindled eventually to frothy patches, and lacing clung readily to the glass.

The aroma was rather simplistic, with caramel malt and a faint citrus hop bouquet lapping a more subdued alcohol trend.

Upon sipping, a wash of caramel and soft chocolate sweetness sloshed in, along with hints of plum and currants. The hops asserted a bit stronger here, with a more distinctly citrus character playing out, followed soon by a sherry-esque twist of alcohol, both serving to keep in check any chance of a runaway sweetfest. The finish came gradually, and was a wonderful balance of bitter and sweet, never cancelling each other, but rather co-existing nicely. It was a treat from the first sip to the last.

Heavy bodied, the syrupy mouthfell was almost silken, and the ending glow was a fine touch.

I had one, and had I not had my son in tow, I likely would have had another. It was that much fun to sip and savor. It's big, no question, but it flows willingly over the palate, behaving entirely too drinkable for a beer with such a hefty ABV. This one could gt you in trouble, but common sense would likely prevail, at least for most of us. It's the rare Hairy Eyeball that delivers comfort instead of unrest.

02-28-2006 21:01:02 | More by Foxman
Photo of orfeu

New Mexico

3.63/5  rDev -5%

12 ounce bottle. Bronze with golden highlights and a yellowed parchment colored head. Brown sugar encrusted hazelnuts soaking in armangac aroma. Nutty sweet start, cherries floating in bourbon middle, alcoholic flame-out finish, bitter mineral aftertaste. Burps reveal a bit of hop character. Thick and chewy mouthfeel. An impressive creation, but this one just shows too much booze. Maybe I'm getting jaded, but it seems like these gargantuan high abv malt bombs are getting pretty hard to tell apart. I really wanted to like this one more, but... Strong ale, for sure. Stand out ale? Not so sure.

02-24-2006 05:33:11 | More by orfeu
Photo of germaniac


3.98/5  rDev +4.2%

Pours hazy brown, shot thru with ruby highlights. Head builds up initially, but doesn't stick around too long after everything gets settled around in my glass.

Fruity smelling, caramel malt layered upon a citrus bite, topped off with faintest whiff of alcohol.

Chewy, rich malted goodness. Caramel sweetness that darkens into roasted notes. Hop flavors shine thru briefly, only to blend seamlessly into the background, contributing another brick to this brew's wall of flavor.

To me, Lagunitas has a definite knack for crafting some beers that can really only be enjoyed not as everyday drinkers, but tasty occasional treats. Hairy Eyeball is one of those, I think. I wonder what effect a little time in a cool, dark place would have...

02-24-2006 02:32:58 | More by germaniac
Photo of Freshie


4.1/5  rDev +7.3%

Served on-tap at the Union Brewhouse, in Weymouth, MA.

A deep-rich dark caramel colour, with decent frothy head. I really liked the aroma, which was caramel, and almost coffee-like. Very inviting.

The tase was very malty, chocolate and carmel overtones, very smooth. The 9% ABV is masked well by the smooth ingediants. As I drank this I did not feel a very big alcohol burn, like in other strong ales.

Very drinkable, almost scarily so. The bartender hesitated in giving one of these to my friend because he thought he just picked it for it's novel name. He told us it's dark, and that there's alot going on in it. But I disagree, I think all the ingrediants gel together to make one very smooth strong ale, that is heavy on the malt, with a subtle hop character.

02-21-2006 18:44:16 | More by Freshie
Photo of scottoale


4.55/5  rDev +19.1%

The Hairy EYEBALL Ale label reads: Hear's Lookin' Atcha' ! LOL....and has the O.G.1.090 and an I.B.U. 56.7 as well as Alc 9% by Vol. Crack open and pour a DARK copper mahogany ale with hues of burgundy and a creamy tan colored, frothy two finger head that has incredible lacing...Yum!

The smell is even better with a malty caramel nose at first wiff. Deep rich, sweet smelling caramel malt with virtually no scent of detectable hops, kind of strange but it smells delicious.

The taste is even more so than the smell, it's got a balanced flavor of complexity, It starts sweet and malty just tantilizing your taste buds then just pans out with a warm smooth tasty (not bitter or sweet) finish. Gotta have more, I really, really like this stuff and normally I crave hops. The hops here are subtle, but they are definetly doing what they are supposed to do. With an I.B.U. of 56.7, you'ld expect a bit of hop bite, but not so.

It has a full body that fills the mouth and tingles a bit on the tongue. It's smooth, creamy and delicious and warming down to your tummy.

Being a stong ale drinker I find this to be a much too drinkable beer. This beer suits it's style to a "T", I don't think it gets much better than this...honestly. Drink with care, and ENJOY!

02-15-2006 10:38:14 | More by scottoale
Photo of Dukeofearl


3.83/5  rDev +0.3%

Just for no real reason, I have this beer that I got at the end-of-cycle discount at my local pacakge store- $0.99 for the bottle. The kicker is that I bought this almost a year ago, so it is a little over a year old. I figured it would keep with it's ABV. I haven't tried it fresh, but I have one of those in the fridge (maybe tomorrow night).

Pours a slightly murky brown with almost no head and definitely no carbonation. A very thin ring of off-white hangs on the side.

Aroma is not strong, but it's a slightly sweet, very malty whiskey-like aroma. Flavor is sweet caramel malts, very thick and chewy mouthfeel, with a melded hop presence (by that I mean that it does not stand out from the rest of the beer, but it is there). Hops not strong at all. Very much like a glass of port in mouthfeel. Rich and full.

A decent brew- I'm not in love with it, but I would enjoy it on occasion.

02-11-2006 03:37:57 | More by Dukeofearl
Photo of DogFood11


3.78/5  rDev -1%

Deep copper, creamy tan head.
Caramel, heavy malt, touch of the wort and some sweetness.
Fruity sweet. Alcohol is a bit on the edge for me, not in its % but more its not all that well incorporated, this brew can give off a touch of that dark alcohol slight burn. Small complaint for a nice seasonal that I'll look for with regularity. Probably more for nightcap purposes.

I've always enjoyed the names of the lagunitas beers. Labels always catch my eye in the beer store as well. Best of all I've had good success in the taste department which in the end is what matters most.

02-10-2006 23:47:23 | More by DogFood11
Photo of pjwilson


4.53/5  rDev +18.6%

appearance: bright amber red color, very deep dark. Nice head

smell: smooth gingerbread malty smell, nice caramel. yeah, smells like cookies, for real.

taste: great, great beer. There is little to no hop flavor, but huge hop bitterness, in a good way. Most of the actual flavor comes from chocolatly tasting malts, more smooth malts with a puckering bitterness. Yet, down in a straight forward easy to comprehed way. I was gonna cellar this but why? I got the last 6 in sac so they told me and it won't last long...
edit: yeah, taste's like plums, figs, candy. Just a fantastic beer, unique and can't get enough of this stuff

mouthfeel: unbeatable quality for a beer of this strength, great mix of thick and thin. fuckin' great sipping beer, you know it's 9 percent because the bottle says so, but you don't care, it's so good you just keep rockin'.

drinkability: for a beer of this strength, completely in check. This isn't like Bigfoot, where or two bottles tops feels like the limit. This stuff is highly drinkable, only the bitterness hold you back....but it's so balanced it just works right.

I highly recomend this beer, I;m sure it would be good in a different way with some cellaring, but I don't think I need to wait because it's so good already.

02-06-2006 05:49:23 | More by pjwilson
Photo of ElGordo


4.05/5  rDev +6%

Poured from the 12oz bottle a pretty garnet color topped by a good inch of creamy tan head. Pleasant aroma is a blend of sweet caramel malt, fruity hops, and a molasses or bourbon-ish sweetness. Palate is sweet caramel and toffee up front, blending with a light hoppiness that contains notes of plums and dates. A light astringency emerges on the finish. Rich, creamy body both carries the flavor and disguises the alcohol a little bit. Very easy drinking considering its strength. Truly an enjoyable winter ale.

02-04-2006 05:25:15 | More by ElGordo
Photo of Bcant


3.25/5  rDev -14.9%

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a large brandy snifter, The Hairy Eyeball Ale is a deep red/brown color that approaches purple. The head began 3 fingers but dropped rapidly.

The aroma is sweet, brown sugar and molasses, but not strong. However this ale is clearly hopped. The flavor is predominantly dry/bitter; some bitter chocolate flavors underlined by caramel and fruit sweetness. The body is way to thin for a beer of this potency, though the alcohol is not overwhelming. In fact, the light body makes it a bit too drinkable and could potentially get you in trouble (for example if you did not know the abv, which innocently is now marked at 9% abv, not the 8.8% listed).

01-21-2006 02:22:24 | More by Bcant
Photo of DrJay


4.28/5  rDev +12%

Clear amber/chestnut colour with a dark cream head. Good lacing composed of fine bubbles. Big toffee, caramel malt and citrus hop character in the aroma and flavour. Some gingerbread in the flavour. Moderate lingering bitterness and some orange hop flavour. Excellent carbonation, on the low side and well-integrated. Dry finish. Plenty of malt with a good hop/malt balance.

01-17-2006 02:14:21 | More by DrJay
Photo of Iguana


4.22/5  rDev +10.5%

Appearence - Poured dark amber with a good solid 1 inch head that lingered for a few minutes and turned to a nice lace.

Smell - Smell's of caramel, malt, and hops. Really quite appeasing.

Taste - Similar to their Censored offering this has more hops though. Starts out with a strong malty taste which subsides to a pleasent hop bitterness and finishes with just a hint of alcohol.

Mouthfeel - Fairly smooth with a nice hop bitterness, quite pleasent.

Drinkability - Very drinkable, I could sit down with a 6 pack of this and go through it in an afternoon.

Afterthoughts - The name be a bit offputting to some, but it screams try me and its a worthy contender to be a regular in my mixed 6 packs for its seasonal duration.

12-27-2005 01:53:40 | More by Iguana
Photo of amatuerbeerguy


3.95/5  rDev +3.4%

Amber color with some copper hues, nice off white head, with some lacing. Malt, with raison, some fruitiness, bready aroma. Malt some what prodominat in the flavor with back character of fig, raison, caramel. Nice carbonation leading to medium-full bodied. Some hop bite in the back of the throat becomes apparent after a while. Overall a nicely done drinkable beer.

11-13-2005 21:27:28 | More by amatuerbeerguy
Photo of imblane


4.4/5  rDev +15.2%

12oz bottle bought in December 04. The label on this one lists the ABV at 9%. Poured into my Nonic a deep, cloudy, ruby red with about one finger of head. Carbonation is almost zero, but the lacing on this is incredible. Smell is currants, plums, dark cherry and a hint of alcohol. Similiar to Double Bastard but less alcoholic. Taste is smoooth, a huge punch of sweet malt that is punched in the head by the 56.7 IBU's. The alcohol is well hidden in the taste and only manifests itself through the pleasing warming after it goes down. This beer is dangerously drinkable even at 9%. This has become my favorite offering from from Lagunitas. Here's Lookin' Atcha'!

10-16-2005 04:08:08 | More by imblane
Hairy Eyeball Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 1,931 ratings.