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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

2,009 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,009
Reviews: 849
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 11.75%
Wants: 42
Gots: 126 | 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: 2,009 | Reviews: 849 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of penguinjive7
4.33/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark mahogany with a a decent head and lacing. Smells of spices and dark malts. Taste is of dark malt immediately countered by a spiciness that mixes very nicely with the alcohol. A hint of hop bitterness nicely balances the brew. The feel is a bit strong on the tongue with the carbonation, but not overbearing.
A nice, well-balanced brew. I have had this in the past and it is even better than I remember it.

penguinjive7, May 21, 2007
Photo of cktison
4.13/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Brick Store Pub, "Lagunitas Hairy Eyeball 2005 Strong Ale - exclusive at BSP"

A: A dark, shadowy brown with a beautiful, creamy 3/4" head of tight bubbles. Almost no loss of head over time, beautiful lacing.

S: Cinnamon apples, sweet and sugary, smells very much like the holidays or poutporri with fall smells. very interesting, very complex.

T: Sweet and malty with a nice fruity sourness to finish it from citrusy hops.

M: Creamy, deep, nice carbonation and good clean finish - very dry.

D: This is a very interesting strong ale, different flavors and smells each sip - I would have loved to have a new one to compare the 2005 version too.

cktison, May 17, 2007
Photo of Suds
3.58/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This brew is a deep and shadowy brown, with just a slight crimson shade. It presents a thin but steady tan-colored head and a respectable trail of lace. The aroma is pleasant: a mix of malt, sugar, figs, and some ethanol. Beneath the first layers of smell, there's a little grapefruity hops. Not bad. The taste is sweet (a bit sticky), with a good dose of bitterness. You can easily taste the alcohol in this one, as well as some toasted malt. The malt flavor is a consistent theme through the brew, but it's not as complex as it could be. It's pretty full in body, and modestly carbonated. Worthy of a try, but there are a lot of strong ales out there that a

Suds, May 12, 2007
Photo of TexIndy
2.58/5  rDev -32.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Poured from a 650ml bottle with no dates into a pint glass. Was bascially black unless held to a light then it was a dark mahogany. Had a decent head to settled to a constant collar with very good lacing. The smell for me was awful. It had a rotting plum smell with a medicinal alcohol smell in the background. The taste was just as bad. I can see where some may like this but this ended up a drain pour for me. Very bitter with a bad aftertaste. Don't recommend unless you are a big fan of the sytle. (2, NA, ML, N)

TexIndy, May 06, 2007
Photo of acrawf6
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours out a clear rich dark mahogany with a foamy tan head. very nice

Smell. Heavy and creamy. sweet with brown sugar, and lightly fruit and spicey, like cinnoman and cranberries at thanksgiving.

Taste. The hops come out, but the malts still dominate. It is dry and earthy to me- wood chips is what i get. Under that are some nice small chocolate notes. Aftertaste gets a little sweet of molassis.

Mouthfeel. Creamy with a nice small level of carbonation. Body is full, but not thick. alcohol is present.

Overall, a nice beer to sip on. quite malty, i thought it would have had a bigger hop bite to it. I like it, and would love to have it again, but i dont see myself searching for it when i travel again.

acrawf6, May 01, 2007
Photo of BlindPig
4.4/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- 1/2" tan head on a DARK red body and when held to light clear dark ruby body.
S- Big malt body with still good balance from citrus hops. Grapefruit hops, and sweet toffee body, some grass hops.
T- Citrus hops with malt body. Balance each other out pretty well but hops still winning. Light bread malts too. Grapefruit and orange hops. Very tasty!
M- Full body medium carbonation.
D- Very tasty. I wish I would of bought one in Cali.

BlindPig, Apr 26, 2007
Photo of Nipitato
3.93/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a bottle at Downtown Wine & Spirits in Somerville.

A: Deep brown with garnet highlights. A thin tan head rings the glass. Visibly viscous.

S: Thick, strong sweet malt aroma with strong compliments of fruity esters (cherries and raisins).

T: Very good taste. Rich sweet molasses and a slightly roasted flavor dominates. Fruity port like esters add complexity. Nice full bitter finish that lingers. Well balanced, complex, and tasty.

MF: Medium full mouthfeel. No alcohol warming. Low carbonation. Viscous.

D: A very approachable good tasting American strong ale. I think it could actually stand to be a little stronger.

Nipitato, Apr 25, 2007
Photo of MmmIPA
3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown body with a tan head,very big head at that too.The head is very creamy looking,looks like a head that you would see on a stout,some lacing is left on the glass as the head goes down.A small head stays with the beer for almost the whole beer.

Piney hops hit my nose first and I wanna say I smell dark fruits in there also.There is also a sweet smell somewhere in there.

The taste is hoppy and sweet,there mixed very well.The hoppiness would be more dominant if the sweetness wasnt so potent.

Mouthful is creamy and carbonation is very easy going.

This stuff is good,its my 2nd favorite beer from Lagunitas Ive had so far.Im gonna cellar 2 or 3 bottles of this stuff for a later time and see how they hold up.The booze sneaks up on ya,so watch out.


Brown body with some red highlights.One finger,tan head.Falls to a nice ring with a patch.

Smells like still,still has some hop bitterness in the nose.Smells oxidized.

I taste some dark fruits but there still fresh,taste oxidized also.I taste brown sugar in there too.

Carbonation is still very easy going and nice.

Not bad,but better fresh.Need to drink the other one soon.Get rid of the twist off caps.


Pours a dark red/brown body that looks like a barley wine and the head.wtf!!! there is no head.

Notes of sweetness.Plums,dates,raisins,and every dark fruit imaginable.Smells nice.Smells like a English barley wine.

I still taste some hops in the background and to be honest with you the sweetness isn't that dominating.The taste is mainly dark fruit.

Mouthful is very nice.Still thick but very pleasant.

This beer is still good but I don't recommend aging it for longer then 18 months after you buy it.Tasty thought.

MmmIPA, Apr 25, 2007
Photo of tonistruth
3.43/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- dark copper with mahogany hues, 1/2" off white head, little retent

S- dried fruit, caramel, malty, pine

T- fruit, caramel, brown sugar, sweet and sneaky alcohol at finish, molasses

M-medium body, some carbonation tickles, slight slight alcohol at finish

D- think hoppy scotch ale or a balanced scotch ale, complex and enjoyable, a more pronounced hop presence would be nice, good none the less

tonistruth, Apr 23, 2007
Photo of tempest
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It's an American strong ale with roots in the English barleywine style. It's malt heavy, with a lighter hops compliment. The malt profile is rich and fruity, like apples and berries. The hops seem slightly fruity, not too harsh, but add a nice balance. This beer isn't amazing, but it's well-balanced and worth a try.

tempest, Apr 22, 2007
Photo of Osiris9588
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle. Pours a deep amber color with a rusty glow around the edges. The two-finger tan head is quite creamy, showing decent retention and leaving some big bubbled, erratic lacing behind after the creaminess subsides.

The aroma is very malty, along with wiffs of sweetness and grain--not unlike some Scottish ales. The flavor is also very creamy and malty, along with a strong wallop of cherry and touch of medicine, yet the phenols don't become overwhelming.

The mouth is medium body, showing decent complexity, as the creamy and sweet elements, eventually dry out a bit on the finish. Very solid overall.

Osiris9588, Apr 15, 2007
Photo of aforbes10
3.35/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

got this at the Corkscrew in Urbana, IL. Poured much, much darker than i had expected. A dark red brown with red tinge to it. Nice head that settles well and leaves a nice lacing. Odor is hoppy, slightly fruity (raspberries?) Smells strong and flavorful. Taste has tons of hop bitterness but not a ton of hop flaovr. Some caramel mingling with dry malts. Bitterness dominates this brew and is maybe a bit overdone. heavy mouthfeel. This one is a bit of a one-trick pony. Ok if you like a hop bomb i guess, but its not all that interesting.

aforbes10, Apr 06, 2007
Photo of AltBock
3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. stubby bottle that has a label that has to made out of recycled paper. You can just feel the roughness of the paper. On this label is "Lagunitas" in green letters, the words "The Hairy" in red letters, the word "Eyeball" in gigantic blue letters, and the word "Ale" in red letters. Below the word "eyeball" is of course a picture of an eyeball. It's a blue eye with a small pizza section cut out of it. Must have had a problem with the printer. Below the blue eyeball is the caption "Here's Lookin' Atcha'!" If you very closely below the caption you can spot the O.G., ABV%, and IBU numbers. In the top right hand corner you can spot the Lagunitas symbol of a drunk sad dog that looks very similar to the Little Rascals Petey the Dog. To the left of the label is the Government warning and to the right of the label is just the refund prices, net contents, and their saying, "Life is Uncertain. Don't sip." Don't waste your time looking for any kind of date because they it doesn't have one. Capped with a twist off cap.

It was served in a Snifter. This eyeball was a dark chestnut brown with tons of cranberry and ruby red highlights throughout the beer. It only had a small skim of white almost tan colored head of foam that fizzled away into a few white/tan foamy rings and a trace of spotty lace. The smell was very fruity at first. I'm not too sure what kind of fruits were in that jumble. After that there were some notes of raisins, brown sugar, very little toasted malts, and it ended with a pinch of sweet citrus hops. The taste was slightly sweet with a touch of toasted malts, raisins, brown sugar, grapefruit, and it decided to end this taste with a big bang of alcohol soaked dry citrus hops. If you decide to hold the beer in your mouth, the alcohol soaked dry citrus hops keep getting stronger and stronger until you're forced to drink it down. Are they sure that their Hairy Eyeball Ale clocks in at a 9% ABV? If it does, then it really masks it's alcohol content. You better keep your eyeball on this eyeball because if you don't, you'll look like the drunk Lagunitas dog. Here's looking at another one of these!

AltBock, Apr 06, 2007
Photo of illidurit
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Rogue pint glass.

A: An extremely deep reddish brown topped by a disappointingly small head for how vigorously I poured it, not even half a finger.

S: As a result of the inadequate head, the smell is lackluster and faint. I can only pick up a bit of brown sugar or caramel. No hops in the nose.

T: Mmm, that's better. The taste saves this beer. Big brown sugar malt with a bit of a citrus hop undercurrent. Molasses and coffee notes. A pinch of spice from the alcohol comes through at the end. Reminiscent of a barleywine.

M: Full and smooth.

D: You can drink these until the 9% abv catches up to you.

illidurit, Apr 05, 2007
Photo of AChamberlain
4.22/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Damn good brew. I've had this twice recently. Once at the Atlantic Chip Shop and for this review, at the Gate in Park Slope, Brooklyn (both places are owned by the same people). On-tap. Dark brown almost black with a 1/2" head. Since this is my second time having it, I know it will be good. Hoppy aroma. I love that smell. The flavor is sweet and hoppy. Both flavors work really well together. Great balance. Medium to heavy body. Zesty finish. Highly drinkable for such a strong beer.

AChamberlain, Mar 22, 2007
Photo of WanderingFool
3.38/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It took me 3 trips to the store to finally grab a six pack of Hairy Eyeball. This time it was I who grabbed the last bottles of this beer.

Hairy Eyeball pours a clear dark mahogany color with a small, creamy tan head on top. The foam dissolves quickly leaving no signs of lace on the glass. An aroma of cherry, raisins, vanilla and medicine greets you before each sip.

Each sip of this medium to full bodied beer is somewhat chewy with a frothy fizz on the palate. The flavor is mainly caramel malt with notes of cherry and raisins. Towards the end some grape notes move in and it finishes with some floral hoppy bitterness to balance out the malt. Once gone some of the sweet malt and cherry flavor lingers on the palate.

This reminds me of a barleywine that isn't overloaded with hops. It's very well balanced, but appears rather flat without any foam or lace.

WanderingFool, Mar 22, 2007
Photo of BeerTruth
3.73/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a pint glass.

Hairy Eyeball pours a very dark red/amber hue with a beautiful khaki colored head. Lace sticks quite well to the glass and remains at the top throughout tasting. Smell is that of raisins and brown sugar with a hint of caramel. Taste is quite different, some cherries and fig perhaps? Quite balanced with a smooth maltiness that is followed by a mild hop bite. I don't sense much alcohol in the taste or the smell, but I guess everyone is different. Has a crisp zing to it that seems to come from the carbonation. More drinkable than I had anticipated, surely give this one a try if you have the opportunity. Solid work Lagunitas.

BeerTruth, Mar 22, 2007
Photo of Metalmonk
4.28/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

My first Lagunitas beer, at long last. The label reads 9%, so it seems they've kicked it up a little since the beer was entered onto this site (also bears a different label than the one pictured).

The color on this baby is a beautiful deep burgundy, boasting a modest-sized head that's light tan and retains for a good long while. Several lace patches and splotches appear.

Aroma is brown sugar, molasses, brandy, vanilla, dusty cocoa powder.

Big alcoholic fruits hit the tongue first. Then a little pipe tobacco, bitter dark baking chocolate, caramel, and toffee. A bitter sting, clearly from the hops, comes at you in the finish, balancing out the malty aspects of the beer. A nice warming glow is felt from the alcohol, which mingles well with the other flavors.

Mouthfeel is bright and alive, thanks to ample carbonation. Slippery and full, with plenty of buoyancy.

A definite sipper, this falls somewhere between an old ale and a barleywine in terms of its warming satisfaction and ability to be enjoyed slowly and contemplatively. Can't wait to stock up on more Lagunitas stuff.

Metalmonk, Mar 21, 2007
Photo of ultralarry2006
4.13/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle. Leaves less than one finger of a tan colored head that quickly fades to a foam ring at the edges, and not much lacing. Body is dark brown with red highlights.

Smell - raisins, ripe cherries, dark crusted malt bread, and spicy, medicinal alcohol.

Taste - similiar to the smell. Malt bread sweet rolls drizzled with brown sugar and studded with raisins. Cherry cola and lemon/lime soda on the finish and aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - full to medium bodied, occaisionally chewy, and yet, quite fizzy.

Drinkability - this is very good ale, but high abv limits sessionability.

ultralarry2006, Mar 19, 2007
Photo of marcobrau
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a reddish-brown with a moderate amount of foam that sustains for a few minutes. Sweet praline nose, laced with molasses. Powdery caramel-toffee malt flavors coat the tongue. This is a touch thick up front, but drier in the long, bitter finish. I like how this beer is thick up front and dry and bitter in the finish. I just picked up a single bottle, but I'd try this again in a six-pack next time.

marcobrau, Mar 19, 2007
Photo of warriorsoul
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Thanks to fitzIPAtrick for handing off this one...been meaning to pick it up.
Rust in color...mahogany highlights with a full finger of light tan head. Lacing is tight, but web-like...recedes rapidly into the brew.
Very inviting in the nose...vanilla, rum soaked raisins, and toasted almonds.
The taste is a slightly smoked, roasty malt bomb that has a gentle sweetness with enough hop bitterness to add some balance.
Slightly phenolic, floral with some grape flavors in the finish.
Thick mouthfeel without being cloying...a bit high on the carbonation. Some of the malty sweetness remains on the pallet into the aftertaste.
Not something I could enjoy beyond a couple pints, but a great way to finish out the season and well received. As usual, a solid offering from the experimental folks at Lag.

warriorsoul, Mar 19, 2007
Photo of far333
4.35/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reddish chestnut colored with a dark beige tightly bubbled cap of foam. Needs a vigorous pour to rise up, and recedes pretty quickly. Nearly no lacing.

Inviting aroma of bready malt and brown sugar, some toffee and caramel, and ripe plum.

Very balanced flavors of toasted malt, plum and pear, some subtle raisin, and tart cherry. The alcohol emerges slowly to impart an oaky bourbonesque flavor.

Medium mouthfeel, not too filling, carb tingles in the finish, followed by an alcohol warmth. Finishes crisp, a bit of tannin.

Tremendous beer, very drinkable.

far333, Mar 17, 2007
Photo of bjohnson
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark tawny brown, burnt auburn color with a thick creamy looking one finger off white colored head. Sticky lacing down the glass. Dark fruits, prunes, figs, burnt sugar, and sweet caramel notes are the first aromas noticed.
Big and deep malty profile. Sweet caramel malt flavors. Thick, creamy, and robust. Malt takes the lead, but it has a surprisingly nice balance. Spicy hops shock the taste buds with a bitterness that lasts into the finish, but hangs around as a supporting cast member. Little bubbly carbonation is spritzy on the tip of the tongue. An interesting offering from Lagunitas. Definitely enjoyable, but not one I'd go after every day. Abv is up there, but not very apparent in the tastes, so watch out!

bjohnson, Mar 16, 2007
Photo of EStreet20
3.6/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle poured into a snifter glass.

A - Deep, deep dark reddish brown color with a nice two finger off white head. Great look overall.

S - Alcohol and fruit flavors come through. Some sugary sweetness.

T - Lots of alchohol and some sugary flavors. Some hops for balance would improve this one.

M - A nice medium body.

D - Not bad to sip on but not as in your face as some American Strongs (IE Arrogant Bastard) and not as smooth as some others (IE Gordon or Hibernation Ale).

EStreet20, Mar 15, 2007
Photo of NEhophead
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 fl oz brown bottle, served in a snifter.

Deep garnet-caramel in color beneath a faint, off-white head that settles quickly to a filmy sheet. Thin and spotted lacing with pretty decent stick.

Sugar-enhanced molasses, caramel, heavy cream; caramelized brown sugar for sure. Raisin, plum, and dried nuts. Floral hops amidst the creamy background.

Heavy cream, caramel, and faint toffee; sweet, brown sugar that adds to the malt's creaminess. Dark fruit hidden in the malt background: raisin, date, plum. Moderate bristle of earthen hops and a hint of pepper prior to a warm, slightly intense rush of alcohol.

Full bodied; creamy, spicy, and slick with a nice sense of balance. The textures are mellow, despite the flavors being robust.

An interesting Strong Ale that's robust in flavor yet subtle in aroma. At 9% abv, the alcohol is evident but not overpowering. A decent, powerful ale, but probably not a brew that I'd seek out.

NEhophead, Mar 14, 2007
Hairy Eyeball Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 2,009 ratings.