1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

Hairy Eyeball Ale - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Hairy Eyeball AleHairy Eyeball Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

2,365 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,365
Reviews: 931
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 11.46%
Wants: 55
Gots: 307 | FT: 3
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
to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Ratings: 2,365 | Reviews: 931
Photo of cdkrenz
4.3/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Thick and creamy body with a minimal head of light tan.

S - Brown sugar, molasses, subtle bread, nut, caramel, anise, and alcohol flavors with a hint of smokiness.

T - Caramel is prevalent with accents of bread toffee and anise. The anise flavor is rather unusual considering the rest of the character of this brew. It fits well as it adds a nice edge.

M - Very thick body with a nice sticky and chewiness to it.

~ I'd love to sit down with two or three of these babies and really enjoy them. This makes for a great desert beer even in it's mild demeanor. I wish I had picked up a six pack and not just a single. I'll be back for more.

Photo of jerlleutz
4.8/5  rDev +25%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Just delicious, taste, smell, lay, the whole yard.

I bought a sixer of this gruel, and it gets better every bottle.

The lacing worked for me, too, and the color is the darkest of coppers out there. The smell of molasses, sundries, and road trip forced me to dive head-in.

The taste is borderline cloying, but with this ABV and this much blackness in flavor, maybe I'm off-mark, but this is probably my only, albeit, jab at this one. Paired with the right food, this may be irrelevant. Food? And beer? Wow, what a night! I think the recession is over.

Great, thick, syrupy mouthfeel. Again, see above re sweetness.

Powerful, so start the night off with this one.

Photo of misinformed
3.32/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle into a Lucifer snifter.

A- Dark brown with reddish highlights. Poured with barely a finger off light brown head that quickly disappeared. No lacing at all that I noticed.

S- Sweet and roasty. Malt. Some light alcohol.

T- Starts off sweet. Notes of caramel and roasted malts. Finishes with mild floral and citrusy hop notes. Slightly spicy towards the end. Once I tasted a distinct but faint hint of smoke. Pretty mellow all around.

M- Medium bodied. Starts off light then the highly active carbonation kicks in.

D- Mellow and well balanced. Seemed to be the opposite of their Undercover Investigation Ale which is hops then malts. The Hairy Eyeball starts out with a nice malt sweetness balanced out with the slightly bitter hop finish. Leans towards a sipper, but if you're into it I could see drinking a couple. It was good, but didn't do much for me.

Photo of xraided81
4.04/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: apearance is dark brown, with ruby highlights. thin off white head that quickly dissipates.
S: dark fruits, prunes, dates, dried cherries, a slight hint of burnt brown sugar,
T: sweet bready taste, the specialty malts, crystal, special b, carmel are up front in the taste, there is an aggresive hop bitterness in the aftertaste.

M: it is surprisingly light for 9% brew, i dont get the chewy mouthfeel that is present in a barley wine, or old ale.

Drinkability: It is a brew to savour and enjoy, not something to pound a six pack of in one sitting. i dont know what category this falls under, it is not hopped enough to call this a barley wine, but it has more bitterness than you would expect in a classic example of old ale

Photo of caddybuyer
4.2/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a tulip glass.

A-Ruddy brown with garnet highlights. Seems to be some suspension in the glass, but I had one a few days ago that was nearly filtered clear. A vigourous pour results in a creamy tan head that clings to the glass with sheets of sticky lace.

S-Sweet caramel malts and candied dark fruits predominate. The nose is pungent and enticing and grows more so as this one warms.

T-Sweet caramel and molasses and rum soaked dark fruit play across the palate with a rich anise creaminess followed by an astringent hop finish that lasts forever. Some warming alcohol present, but not overwhelming. This is very nice...reminds me of a hopped up quad.

M-Medium-full, rich and creamy. May be a tad overcarbonated but easily remedied by a more aggressive pour next time.

D-Well done. Big, flavorful, complex, incredibly well balanced, and best of all way tasty. Hard to believe its 9% ABV. Another great brew from Lagunitas.

Photo of Bizz88
4.6/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beauty pours a dark mahogany with an initial two finger tan head, finishing off with a nice sticky lacing the whole glass. Has a sweet toasted malt and molasses on the tongue. Light on the carbonation with a medium/heavy body. If I lived in Petaluma,CA there would be not a taste for everyone else. If you can't get it, road trip it!!!

Photo of mooseisloose
4.7/5  rDev +22.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

What a name, bizarre yet intriguing, I've picked up a six of this before but it was so good, it got downed without a review. Well I scored another, marked at 8.83% ABV, so let's give it a whirl. Popping the top yields a delicious smell of brown sugar, molasses and black and hint red licorice. Pours to a nice translucent deep red brown with a thin tan head. Taste of this brew is complex. It starts with a chewy roasted malt base and progresses to a black licorice flavor with a molasses and anise slightly bitter finish. Mouthfeel is extraordinary. It starts almost syrup thick then zests ion the middle with carbonation and thins (not overly so) but still sticks to the ribs. This is a perfect example of this style and a very delicious brew. This brew can be very sneaky at 8.83% ABV. This beer is also an extreme value as a six pack sells for less than most four packs of equal or lesser quality. Keep up the good work Lagunitas. May have to cellar a few to see what pans out in a year or two.

Photo of exonthebottle
4.12/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A:big thick head disappears with nice lacing.

S. dark fruits, bread, sugar and faint hint of alcohol

T: surprising amount of hops as well as the alcohol then sugary bread taste and fruit. Nice complex flavors that sour a little on the tongue

M. bubbly high carbonation fizzes with the alcohol

D. good it sips well perfect for spring could have 2 in one sitting

Photo of bryanmetzger
3.95/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Beautifully poured beer at McNulty's Pub in Cleveland Heights. Great lacing, Great aroma, a little on the thin side in the mouth, which seemed to accentuate the higher ABV. Overall, Quite yummy, a treat. A sixer would be a full evening at home, but I might have to try it.

Photo of racer2k
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured this beer into my favorite pint glass

A - Beer pours a dark brown mahogany color with a bit of foam head and minimal carbonation.

S - Raisins, toffee, chocolate, brown sugar and malt are all present in the aroma. There is also a waft of a nutty flavor in there as well. This beer is definitely built on a strong malt profile with very little hop presence.

T - Like the smell there is a big malt profile to the taste of this beer. There are spicy and roasted malt elements to this beer which slightly mask the alcohol profile of this strong ale but not completely.

M - Medium body to this beer with some carbonation and a warming alcohol sensation which is especially present in the back end swallow.

D - Decent strong ale for sipping but not necessarily a session beer given the high 8.80% ABV on board. Perhaps a nice after dinner beer.

Photo of coldmeat23
3.92/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

GLASS: Snifter
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 55 degrees

This pours a medium shade of copper with deep ruby highlights. The single finger head of beige foam dissipates quickly. The surface covering film that remains sticks around almost all the way through to the end. The lacing is in thin strands that are fairly sticky and fight against the oily residue that this beer leaves on the side of the glass, trying to stay up on the side.

Nice, big, malty presence. Traces of toffee and caramel, along with some dark fruit notes. Figs, dates and raisins, especially. Light hint of molasses. A nice woody quality. A light yeastiness gives way to scents of buttered toast.

Very good malty flavor. Much more of an earthy malt presence, than a sweet one. The sweetness is mild, almost an afterthought. This has a slight dryness to it, almost oaky-like. Mild notes of nuttiness to go along with the woodiness. Very light traces of brown sugar bob to the surface and get sucked right back down. Mild flavors of dark fruits, without the sweetness.

This has a good, medium body to it and a mild-to-medium level of carbonation. It is mostly smooth, although it's a touch thin, for the style. There is a slight biting sharpness on the back-end, but it fades quickly. This would benefit from a good touch of creaminess.

The 8.80%abv is minimally noticed, but gives you a nice, fuzzy, feeling with a mild hint of warmth. Perhaps not the best thing to slam a 12-pack of in a session, in that respect, but it's tasty enough that you just might, if you aren't keeping track of your intake.

Photo of jdense
3.9/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle from Whole Foods PDX Hollywood, poured into UCLA shaker pint glass 5.14.2010.

Not much to add to my review of on-tap version nose and flavor wise, but I used this as an opportunity to compare with Stone's Arrogant Bastard, which I would view as the comparator for the style re Cali Strong Ale. I thought the depth of flavor, re malt profile balance between caramel and bread, and hop profile, more aggressive bitterness on back end, tilts scale toward the Eyeball. On drinkability, though, a this ABV you better be careful. I certainly prefer the tap version to this bottled version, but as few kegs as I've seen of this in Beervana, I'm lucky to have scored this bottle. The big question is whether this will cellar well. Damn, I should have grabbed another bottle!

Photo of WeezyBoPeep
3.51/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured into a Shipyard Pumpkinhead pint glass.

A: Pours a deep, rich, dark mahogany with a nice thick, foamy dark tan head.

S: Smells at first of rich caramel malts, brown sugar and a little dark fruit. Plums and figs mostly. Notes of super-ripe banana goodness and a whiff of burnt toast.

T: A creamy, yet tangy initial mouthfeel is followed by an alcohol burn in the middle that reminds me this is indeed a strong ale. What follows is a wave of earthy biscuit malts and toasted bananas. Slightly bitter burnt toast and suggestions of citrus hops in the finish.
Went decently well with a grilled chicken salad.

D: I'm not sure if I would buy a sixer of this; not quite as drinkable as some other recent Lagunitas brews. If you like very malty beverages, you'll probably be able to put away a couple of these.

Value: I paid $2.49 for a single. Not bad at all.

Photo of Docer
4.3/5  rDev +12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Fresh new bottle from Whole Foods in LaCamas WA.

- Dark clear ruby brown... not much head to this one... leaves a nice greyish white ring though and some planetary spots all about.

- Smell is of molasses... fig.. creamy malt and caramel... bit of a woodiness to it... light bitter hop, and a sweet citrus backing.

- Super smooth malts... caramel, brown sugar, molasses... all melded very well with a nice bitter pine and citrus hop... seems more bitter than aroma... nice zing towards the finish... and then a nice sweet layer of sugar rests on the tongue... nice aftertaste and feel.

- Smooth, highly dangerous and drinkable... slightly chewy and dry... with a great sweetness left on the tongue. I have read the other reviews... and I must say that the alcohol is not very noticeable at all... just warms the belly.

- Overall this is certainly a good beer, and one I will buy again for sure. It is dangerously smooth and tasty... and a favorite from this brewer. I seem to favor their browner ales vs. their golden...

Photo of Kromes
4.05/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Clear and reddish/dark brown with a thick, dense tan colored head. Lacing down the glass.

S: Molasses, raisin, dark fruit and bready yeast aromas with a touch of alcohol.

T: The beer starts with a nice toasty flavor with brown sugar, molasses and figs that warms the tongue with the alcohol. The finish is more pronounced with a slight bitterness kicking in at the end. It seems to be lacking something in the finish.

M: Has a smooth and heavy feel to it and it leaves the mouth tingling from the alcohol and bitterness.

D: The high alcohol would limit drinkability, but it is a tasty beer.

Photo of dogfishandi
4.22/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

3-10-09- fresh bottle

poured from 12 oz. bottle at cellar temp. into pint glass. had no idea what to expect with this one as it had no description as to what kind of beer it was anywhere on the bottle of the box. pours about 1 finger of light tan creamy head that faded to a thin layer of foam covering the top. the beer itself appears to be a very dark ruby color. dark brown when held up to the light. a little bit of some sticky lacing, halfway decent retention. this one has a very sweet aroma. sweet malts, very fruity, dried fruits like raisons, prunes, dates, etc. the taste is unlike any beer ive ever had, very unique. very sweet in the taste as well as the aroma. right off the bat your hit with a sweet sticky maltiness that finishs with a dark fruitiness with some hop bitterness and a little warmth from the alcohol in the finish. perfect medium body, and carbonation which has a lot to do with why you can barely notice the alcohol, id never guess it was 8.7% never. pretty drinkable considering the ABV, i could also see this waying down on my stomach after a few of these, but that is with most of lagunitas' dark beers, not to say there bad or anything, far from it. i would highly recommend this to anyone wanting something out of the ordinary. everything about this beer is great from the name to the sweet taste.

5-9-2010- aged 1 year and 2 months

at about cellar temp poured into a bulb style glass. pours a dark dark brown almost appears black. about one finger light caramel colored head. faded quickly to a thin layer. a touch of lace.

a rather malty aroma, somewhat similar to a imperial stout. roasted malts, a little alcohol, some dark fruits. maybe some molasses and brown sugar. some chocolate somewhere in there.

the taste seems to have changed quite a bit. i enjoy much more now. a little reminiscent of a baltic porter now. it has taken on somewhat of an acidic sour/tart like taste that melds with the other flavors nicely. still has that good malty taste going on. starts with ripe dark fruits, ends with dryed dark fruits. roasted malts seems to come out a touch more. a touch of chocolate. finsihs a touch tart, bitter, and fruity, maybe a touch of citrus hops.

has a medium to heavy body. a touch thick and astringent at times. a bright somewhat sizzly carb at first.

definatly a sipper in my mind. packs a little bit of a punch. definatly overall better with some age on it. im interested to see what even another year will do to my one remaining bottle. i would suggest aging this beer, if you got the room, i wouldnt really go out of my way to do it again though.

Photo of hwwty4
3.65/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a 12oz bottle into my Hennepin globe glass. This beer pours a mahogany brown with ruby highlights when held up to the light. A massive 4 inch creamy beige head pours out of the bottle leaving a rather sparse lacing. Up front comes dark fruits, with apples and pears. Prunes and dates with just a little bit of raisins. After that i pick up some piney hops. The flavor is big and malty. Prunes, dates, over ripe apples all come through. Brown sugar with just a little bit of chocolate. The hops really fade out of the flavor profile. The mouthfeel is nice and creamy, leaving a caramelized brown sugar flavor soaked into the palate. Once again, Lagunitas has made a good big beer that is readily available and affordable. Gotta love Lagunitas.

Photo of ByTor2112
3.8/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice shade of cola to my Chimay goblet-gotta get those aromas! A thin film of beige head lingers on the surface.

Aroma-Malty, sweet brown sugary notes.

Mouthfeel-Solid carbonation delivers a quick bitter sting that soon gives way to a malty sweetness. There is a hoppy bitterness that emerges quickly but subsides as the finish yields to some alcohol warmth. Not hot or strong. Can alcohol be earthy? The booziness is candy like. I usually froth on the palate but I choose to roll this around and I get some different sweet flavor profiles, dried fruit finally comes through, bubblegum even. This is certainly a strong ale and I got a case of this along with a case of Brown Shugga' so let the high gravity times roll! Lagunitas never disappoints and I could probably sip two of these.

Photo of Cyberkedi
4.03/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice dark transparent coppery brown with a fairly thick pale tan head that dissipates slowly. Aroma is richly malty with an undertone of brown sugar and a hint of cloves. Lively flavor is malty and spicy, slightly sweet and slightly bitter, with a teensy alcohol bite. Texture is fizzy, tingly and edgy, dancing on the tongue and on the way down.

Photo of MURF0320
3.18/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a dark mahogany color with light tan one-finger head that dissipates quickly leaving light lacing.
Smell is candy-like and dominated by sweet malts. Brown sugar, caramel, some dark fruits, and alcohol are also present.
This beer is very sweet with lots of residual sugars. Complex flavor is overshadowed by the sweetness in my opinion. Molasses, brown sugar, caramel, raisins, dark cherry. Once the sweetness starts to fade a light bitterness comes through. Alcohol is certainly present but as it should in this style.
Mouthfeel is syrupy and somewhere between sticky and smooth. There was a nice amount of carbonation to begin with but seemed to become completely flat by the end.
I found this overly sweet and had to make an effort to finish it for that reason.

Photo of DoppleJock
3.78/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into pint glass.

A: Poured a hazy dark reddish-brown with a wispy half-finger tan head. Good lacing.

S: Good whiff of alcohol at the start followed by some dark fruity scents. Has a vinegary quality to it that reminds me faintly of a Flemish red ale.

T: Starts off very peppery but the alcohol isn't overpowering. Dark fruits and sugars dominate the palate with a very mild bitter aftertaste.

M: Full-bodied without feeling too heavy.

D: A sipper for sure. A decent strong ale but it's scent reminds me too much of a Flemish red ale, which turns me off to seeking it out any time in the near future.

Photo of tigg924
3.51/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: 1/4 inch head, clear, leather brown in color

Smell: caramel malt, dark fruit, and pepper

Taste: toasted caramel malt, brown sugar, traces of smokiness and chocolate

Mouthfeel: medium/heavy bodied, moderate carbonation, semi-sweet

Drinkability: A nice and big malty brew. One of my favorites from the brewery. One per serving, but would get this again.

Photo of DoctorDog
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 12 oz bottle into a snifter.

A- Murky deep amber / brown. Pours with ~1 finger of creamy tan head, which fades very slowly to an island of bubbles.

S- Sweet caramel malts dominate. Hint of booziness and earthy hops.

T- Quite a roasted / brown sugar maltiness. Hints of dark fruits. Slightly to the side of sweet. Moderate alcohol kick and a sturdy hops bitterness.

M- Slightly low carbonation with a medium feel. Alcohol warming is well noted, but not biting.

D- Solid. Well rounded and fairly easy drinking for it's 8.83% ABV.

Future outlook: Solid, if unspectacular beer. Won't be a beer to go out of my way for, but at a good price point, and might be a beer to enjoy occasionally.

Photo of gnemesis
3.73/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12oz into snifter on 3/26. Poured dark brown with 1 finger off-white head. This one smelled sweet. Fig/plum, sweet malts, maybe even brown sugar, no hops detected. The taste follows with a little more caramel and slight alcohol heat. Full body and almost syrupy and sticky. The drinkability is average due to sweetness.

Photo of BabyBastard
3.26/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Aggressive pour into tulip produces prodigious light tan head, superb lacing throughout, and a very dark red and brown brew that is clear despite being so dark. A quick swirl keeps the head alive and kicking.

Aggressive malt tones in the nose, also a sweet candy scent fills the nostrils after a hefty whiff. This also smells a bit of alcoholic heat, though this is nothing too pronounced and doesn't take away from the overall effect. Overall, a decent smelling ale.

Taste is in the same department as the smell, very malt agressive, toffee notes and a dark fruitiness cover the palate. Slight hop bite on the tongue is percieved, but immediately washed away with the super sweetness. Brown sugars come through and very much define this brew. Very reminiscent of Brown Shugga', though this is not as sickly sweet. Definitely a malt monster in a bottle.

This has a sticky, very sweet feel about it. To me, this has a light feel despite being a tad on the heavy, over malted side. This one will surely dry you out, so keep a glass of water available. Drinkability is slightly above average for me, though you may need to pace yourself with this. Too much and it may be lights out if you are not careful.

to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Hairy Eyeball Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 2,365 ratings.