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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

2,327 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,327
Reviews: 918
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 11.75%
Wants: 52
Gots: 288 | 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
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Ratings: 2,327 | Reviews: 918 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of therica
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Smokin' Joe's Saloon, East Carson, Pittsburgh's South Side. This one really caught us off-guard since there was no description, just the title so we assumed it was an APA or IPA. NOT!

A= mahogany brown, modest tan head and some lacing.

S= toasted caramel, nutty notes, dry grasses, hints of maybe cherry or other fruits, nice nose of hops bitters and florals.

T= somewhat like mixing a solid IPA with a nice nut-brown. Best of both worlds, hops bitters and florals, burnt caramel/toffee and burnt nutty flavor, roasted malts.

M= slightly nutty but otherwise similar feel to an APA/IPA, plus some light syrup.

D= very drinkable with forewarning of what this beer is!

Photo of riored4v
4.25/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed 4/7/10

Poured into a tulip. 1/2 finger, tan head that fades to a thin layer/ring. Dark brown with some signs of ruby. Appears to be clear when held up to a light.

Smell was malty with a slight caramel sweetness. Some crisp/bitter hop presence.

Taste had a great maltiness and some sweetness. Nice brown sugar and caramel presence. Good finish with a fair amount of bittering hops. Slight earthy presence with a toffee/bready faintness.

Mouthfeel had a medium body. Crisp finish with some lingering stickiness. Medium carbonation.

Good drinkability. Slightly sweet but no signs of abv.

Photo of boogyman
3.87/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Comes out nicely with a very dark copper/maroon color and a thin head that dissipates fairly quickly. Bubbles come up from the bottom every once in a while. Not much lacing to speak of.

S- Very pleasant smell. Dark candied fruits like cherry and plum and I got a slight whiff of something nutty. You can tell this is gonna be a malty brew.

T/M- What???!? What the hell am I drinking. I am caught way off guard with this one. It is like no other beer I have drank before. I would say though that Strong Ale is the best choice for putting a style on this beer but this definitely has some unique flavors. It has the nose in it but what is most dominating is what appears to be the sweetness. There is a weird tart ripe grape flavor in it. It is really hard to pin point but there is something with this brew I have never experienced and I love it. Mouthfeel is good, goes down smooth, no bite. No alcohol taste going on.

D- Fairly high ABV at over 8.8% but is oddly easy to drink. I could put a few of these 12oz bottles down without too much hesitation. Lagunitas surprises me yet again with some amazing brew.

Photo of babaracas
3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, dark reddish brown, with thin white head. Smell: dark brown sugar, hint of smoked meat, background leafy hops. Fairly subdued. Taste: dark brown sugar, some sugary dark fruit bread (date bread anyone?), big citrus rind hop kick which fades into something a bit medicinal, finishes with a very German dopplebock character. This was definitely not what I expected from Lagunitas, but it's a nice sugary dopplebock with west coast hops.

Photo of Radley521
4.28/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

In an ode to the Beer Report, this beer is f*cking metal! It comes in a six pack which would be great if you split between 3 guys. At 8.8% ABV, it a stout mutha. Imagine my surprise when I found this little treasure in the back of gas station's beer cooler.

Appearance: Scant white head that rather rapidly dissipates. Dark reddish-brown that is clear. Has legs like wine, or "that" girl from high school.

Aroma: Rather subtle bourbon with some floral and malt notes.

Taste: Wonderful flavors of vanilla toast, if that makes any sense. I guess, I mean that it is very malty with a unique mix of floral, vanilla, and caramel on top of a grainy maltiness.

Mouthfeel: Very full feeling, coats my entire palette.

Overall: I really enjoyed this brew, then again I have been a fan of all of Lagunitas seasonal releases.

Redneck Grade: Slap your momma!

Photo of shadow1961
3.92/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Lagunitas Hairy Eyeball pours a mere disk of foam over a nearly opaque coffee colored brew. Carbonation is moderate and steady, the nose is a collection of surprisingly muted toasty notes- mocha, maybe a bit of molasses. Flavor is more pronounced- estery English yeast funk, sweetish dark toast, a bit of char and grassy hop off the back for balance. Mouthfeel is round yet crisp, trending dry, with a bit of a grassy medicinal aftertaste. Lagunitas is striking a pretty fine balance line here. The label indicates 56.7 International Bittering Units pushing up against an 8.7% Alcohol by Volume brew, yet there's not much of a bite from the hops nor does alcohol make much of an impression save that feeling of well being. This one's pretty sneaky kids- drink it slowly!

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

Pours a deep brown color with obvious ruby tones to it. Big foamy tan head falls very slow leaving full, clinging lace.

Nice ale aroma with hops present and an interesting smoke background.

Full bodied ale with nice hops. Spiced nice and has a caramel malt taste and a raisin sweet finish.

Bit dry, bit boozy. Somewhat full mouth feel with an alcohol mouthfeel.

Nice sipping beer. Decent offering from Lagunitas.

Photo of CaptainIPA
4.25/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a dark mahogany with garnet highlights and a significant two-finger, ecru-colored head.

S: Lots going on in the nose: caramel, brown sugar, vanilla, bourbon, coffee, and spice. Included in the mix is a very subtle hint of -- get this -- summer sausage. That's an awesome first!

T: About as complex as it gets, in a very good way. Healthy blasts of rich malts with an emphasis on caramel, brown sugar and bourbon. Hints of vanilla and honey. Finishes with a distinctive spicy note, almost ginger-like in nature. At first taste, it's like a hybrid between an American Porter and an Oatmeal Stout, but as The Eyeball warms its truly unique taste profile surfaces. I say Yum!

M: Smooth, silky and creamy.

D: Very drinkable despite its hairy strength. Outstanding, a must try!

Photo of EnojysAnyBeer
4.53/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Very dark, yet transparent. Garnet-red when held up to the light. Light brown at a glance. The head retains in a splotchy pattern and leaves bubbly sheets of lacing

S- Sweet, mellow bourbon essence created by vanilla and caramel fumes. Savory aromas of sweet potatoes and pumpernickel rye bread

T- The flavor is a masterpiece. It brings out the greatest aspects of beer and leaves all the rest lurking in the shadows. Too much for words. See for yourself with a sip. Would be a 5, but could use a darker roast profile.

M- Smooth and sticky with a slick, refreshing quality

D- I don't know what this beer is, but it works fine as a nightcap

Photo of cbutova
3.56/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A different winter beer, I must say. Pours out a dark red-brown with a nice one and a half finger head that ahs good retention. Leaves a nice medium coat of lacing and a decent ring stays behind atop the ale. Smell is a bit boozy, maybe more than a bit. Some dark malts with sugar sweetness. Ahhh, too much alcohol in the nose. There is also some dark fruits and spices and a bit of earthy hops. The taste is medium toasty/sweet/roast malt with some dark fruit and earthy hops. Some alcohol in there for sure but it is tolerable. Grassy hops on the palate too with high bitters. Some winter spices and brown sugar in here too. Mouthfeel is medium body with low carbonation. Heat is too much for me here. There is a decent bitter coat. It needs more carbonation and cream and less heat. Drinkability is OK. The price is good for a strong beer but the ABV could be hidden much better. The strong flavors become a bit too much. Probably not gonna get it again but I actually prefer this too any of the other overly spiced winter ales I have had.

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

Standard 12 oz. bottle poured into a large wine glass. The Hairy Eyeball pours nicely clear and deep mahogany in color with caramel highlights. A thin cap of foam lingers briefly yet laces nicely.

Light earthy hop presence on the nose, expanding with warming, along with a rich delivery of chocolate and cherry and some background spice. Very clean and welcoming and not overly sweet, in fact becoming a bit smoky. Notes of alcohol increase with warming yet remain quite subtle.

Taste is rich and full without being sweet, cherry and raisin notes dominate with dried fruits more prominent with exposure. Feel is light and smooth for the style with enough carbonation and malt to mask the ABV yet not become cloying. Well balanced and quite drinkable. Think I'll stick a few in the cellar to enjoy in the off season.

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

If not for any other reason, you've got to try this beer just so you can say you drank a Hairy Eyeball. Aside from the catchy name, this is a really good beer. At nearly 9% abv, it reminds me of a Bass Pale Ale... on steroids! Has the same soft malty aroma as Bass, but that's where the softness stops. Pours a dark gold color. Strong malty, hoppy flavor. Smooth, bitter finish. Liked this beer more with every sip it took. Thumbs up. Recommended.

Rating by Tommy from BrewFanatics.com

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

poured into Duvel tulip

A: pours dark amber brown, with a finger and a half light brown head
S: sweet malt with a certain light fruitiness. an earthy/light bitter hop aroma.
T: heavy roast malt, slightly sweet like a mix of light brown sugar and raw sugar. a spice like hint of light clove cinnamon and vanilla. aftertaste is where hops are noticed as a more earthy bitterness.
M: consistency of watered down syrup. medium carbonation. coating
D: the name may be a tad off putting but whats in the bottle is great to drink.

Photo of daledeee
4.03/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Quite an interesting brew. It makes me want to try some other offerings from this brewer.

This poured an absolutely beautiful dark mahogany that is clear if held up to the light. A very robust almost white head.

The nose has stuff I can't figure out. At times I think it is earthy but for sure it is malty and caramel.

Taste is very nice with caramel and hops. There is a nice dose of hops which I am not used to with a bock tasting beer. A very thick bodied beer. A sipper and a few of these should age. I will update.

Photo of MrMcGibblets
3.52/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: deep amber to mahogany, clear. light tan head.
S: rum-soaked dred fruit, dark caramel and toffee, resiney, and fruitcakey.
T: sweet and boozy dried fruit and caramel/toffee, well-balanced by resiny/spicy hop bitterness, some alcohol on the long finish.
M: medium to full-bodied, somewhat viscous.
D: a sipper, might improve with some age on it to smooth it out.

Photo of steve8robin
2.38/5  rDev -37.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Got this one at the local beer store because of the interesting name...

A: Deep beautiful red. Tiny white head that quickly fades. Good.

S: Hard to get a strong scent. Once you do you kind of get a barleywine and tripel mixed scented beer. Eh, ok.

T: Bitter hops with almost a slight V8 type flavor. A little too weird. Bitter hops in the middle. Ick.

M: Goes down a little too thick for the style.

D: Ok, nothing good.

All in all, this brew is not very good. Avoid!

Photo of jpmclaug
3.61/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a growler into a pint glass

A - brown with an orange glow, nice sized tan head, beautiful lacing

S - rich biscuity smells with a hint of caramel and butter, can't smell the hops in this at all

T - falls right in line with the smell, a bit of caramelly sweetness up front. I really can't find any specific hop flavors in this one but you can tell they are present to knock a bit of sweetness off. Might be a little bit sweeter than I like.

M - Medium bodied. Feels almost sticky at first with a creamy finish.

D - Pretty easy drinker for 8.8%. The alcohol flavors are covered up pretty well. This one is a little sweeter than I normally like. I wouldn't mind drinking this again but I won't be seeking it out.

D -

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

Pours a deep brown with a touch of red. The light tan head leaves quickly leaving sticky lacing.

Moderate boozy molasses and sourdough bread aroma. Sweet molasses and espresso flavor with a touch of licorice gives way to mild hop bitterness with a boozy bite.

Medium thick body and light carbonation. A good winter sipper with really interesting flavor.

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

Poured a deep raison like color with good carbonation and a dirty white head. Nose is sweet, burnt, brown sugar, caramel. Taste is molasses, caramel, brown sugar, with some dark fruits on the end. Mouthfeel has a light sourness, booze tinge with a stickiness. Pretty good and drinkable.

Photo of Reagan1984
3.84/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Well I had the pleasure of having a pint of this beer at "The Lodge" in Boca Raton Florida. This is one beautiful beer. The head was a thick/creamy perfect cap on the top of the pint. Awesome retention and structure. Just lay there like off white heavy whipped cream. The beer was a very dark/murky brown color that looked like rugged/worn leather. Too dark to determine if it was hazy, but it sure didn't look like there was a lot of clarity.

Aroma was deep & inviting. The aroma of thick malt hung in your nostrils. Caramel and a slight whiff of alcohol also played a role here.

More toffee like than caramel in the flavor. Almost some burnt flavors and maybe some molasses. Huge malt punch with an accompanying amount of alcohol flavor. Thick flavor from front to back with very little hop presence. Strong Ale is the correct description of this beer. On target with flavor and feel.

Mouth feel was thick and smooth. Fairly bold body and very subtle carbonation. This beer lay heavy in your mouth prior to swallowing. Nice. You could almost chew this beer.

You take your time with this pint, but it's very nice. Very interesting. Something tells me this is a different beer out of the bottle vs. the draft version. I am guessing that I would like this more on draft. But one never knows.

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

Poured from brown bottle into standard pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a hazy dark brown with a good tan head that recedes to a nice thick cap.

Smell: Rich and malty aroma with some nice sweetness. Little or no hops aroma, this is all about the malts.

Taste: Flavor is all about the dark roasted malts. Brown sugar and molasses, there is a hint of coffee and dark chocolate. Middle brings raisin and dark fruit. Finishes slightly sweet and dry.

Mouth feel: Medium to full bodied. Smooth and thick, nice.

Drinkability: A good beer for malt lovers. Deep rich and smooth. Good ABV that makes this a great fall-winter beer.

Photo of portia99
3.8/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle received from Jmoore50 in the Black Booty 3 BIF. Thanks Jordan! Poured into a Portsmouth goblet.

A - Pours a very clear dark brown with really nice ruby highlights. No head to speak of, never even gave a hint that one was trying to form...can only muster enough to leave a thin, uneven collar.

S - Good amount of alcohol up front. Some nice yeast derived fruitiness, maybe a touch of sweetness. Aromas overall are quite light and subtle. Not much for malt, maybe a hint of caramel, and not much for hop presence either.

T - A malty sweetness up front paired with a warm alcoholic nature. Some dark fruity aromas come in, a bit of cherry, some prunes, maybe some brown sugar too. Hops do make an appearance in the flavor much more than the aroma. This beer is nicely bitter and well balanced.

M - A bit on the thin side of medium bodied. This beer is quite well atenuated and fermented very cleanly...not much for unfermentables left behind for body. Carbonation is low too which really adds to the thin feel.

D - For a strong ale, this is a pretty easy drinker. Flavors are subdued, body is light, and everything is well balanced with not much of a noticeable alcohol presence. Not my favorite strong ale (so many good ones out there), but a pretty good beer - probably would be one and done in a bar and try something different the next round though...

Photo of Morey
3.98/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I haven't sipped it yet and this beer looks great! Big frothy tan head following a medium pour, and it's hanging around. The color of this ale is a deep cherry/mahogany wood.

The aroma filled with dark fruits such as cherries and plums. Maybe some spices too. Smells like a winter beer for sure.

Taste is surprisingly fruity as well. Maybe some figs? Roasty malts are the stronghold here though. A pleasant hop bitterness is in the background.

Mouthfeel is medium and also pretty silky on the tongue.

I could have a couple of these, but that's about it as far as the drinkability goes.

Morey's Bottom Line: They label this as a strong ale, but to me, it's a winter warmer. Very similar to Anchor Christmas in my opinion. A well crafted beer for sure.

Photo of DrDoitchbig
3.44/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Poured a surprising chocolate brown hue with some tinges of orange and red. It's probably one of the darkest strong ales I've seen, but it is a catch all style. The cream colored head started off at about one and a half fingers and stuck around throughout leaving generous, finger width gashes of lacing along the way.

Smell: Despite my numerous attempts at agitating the beer the aroma on this is pretty weak. The aroma that is here is mainly compromised of caramel malts and some earthy, floral hops.

Taste: There was a good base going on in the smell, but it was just too weak. Thankfully the taste department picks up where the smell left off and kicks it up a notch in the process. This is a fairly balanced beer with perhaps a slight edge going to the malts. Caramel and toffee come to mind with some traces of vanilla in the background. The hops are earthen, spicy, perhaps a tad medicinal with a flash of pine. Deep down there are some fruity esters hanging around. This beer has some really nice malt characteristics, but I wish they were playing second fiddle to the hops. I suppose that's just the way I like my strong ales.

Mouthfeel: A solid medium for the body, with a very nice creaminess to it. Carbonation is also solid, could be a tad higher.

Drinkability: Perhaps I've been drinking too many highly hopped beers as of late, but to me this tastes like more of an Irish Red than an American Strong Ale. The hop and malt profiles both match up fairly well to the Irish Red category. It's a nice easy going beer and I would gladly drink another, but this style has more to offer. The alcohol is covered very well.

This is the third beer I've had from Lagunitas and it's starting to become appearant that they are a little hit or miss in my book. One of the beers was fantastic, one was middle of the road and the last I just didn't enjoy. This one was the middle of the road.

Photo of CPeterson
3.13/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A -- Pours a translucent brown / deep amber, with a good head that settled to a fine skim across the top, leaving some lacing.

S -- Smells of syrup and molasses, sticky sweet with a light hop presence.

T -- Deep caramel sweetness backed by enough hop to push it down a bit. A little too sweet for my taste, but still nicely complex and rather original.

M -- Syrupy sticky sweet to the point of almost being overpowering. Heavy on the palate but not too abusive.

D -- I bought a sixer and it took my fiancee and I two weeks to finish them. I can't say I'll buy another, but I can see where other people may really enjoy this beer. It's just not for me, and this is only one man's opinion.

Hairy Eyeball Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 2,327 ratings.