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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

2,239 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,239
Reviews: 896
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 11.75%
Wants: 50
Gots: 248 | 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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 01-12-2002

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,239 | Reviews: 896 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of cjgator3
4.07/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle

A- Poured into a snifter. This beer pours a dark reddish brown color with a thin light tan colored head.

S- The aroma is sweet malt and caramel, dark fruits, raisins and a good dose of hops fill the aroma as well. The aroma is very enjoyable with a nice balance between the malt and hops as neither seems to outshine the other.

T- The taste starts off with a sweet malty base with hints of spices. A good amount of hops in the finish helps to balance the sweetness of this beer out. The finish is definitely accompanied by a warmth from the alcohol, but it definitely isn't overly boozy. I'm really digging the hop profile. The hops in the finish are not overly aggressive and bitter but they really do help to balance out the brew lingering well into the finish.

M- The mouthfeel is light to medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation.

D- This one is definitely a sipper, but it does drink pretty good for a beer of it's strength. Overall, Hairy Eyeball is is pretty solid beer that I would definitely purchase again. Recommneded.

Photo of JamesP123
2.88/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

2009 release 12 oz bottle oured into a mug.

A. Dark bworn/reddish color, small off white head that dissipated quickly, but left some lacing throughout the glass.

S. Kinda sweet, smells of raisins or some sort of dark dried fruit (figs, prunes etc.)

T. Really tastes like raisins or dried fruit, Fairly balanced between the Hops and Malts, can definately taste them both almost equally. A slight alcohol flavor, but not much

M. Lighter than I expected, not as creamy. A little more carbination than I would have liked.

D. Would struggle to drink more than one of these in a row, but liked it none the less. A little too sweet/not hoppy enough for me. Although my favorite style is a IIPA so go figure.

Photo of OtherShoe2
3.54/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown with some ruby highlights and a moderate head. Not alot of foam lasts in the glas, but there's some decent lacing.

Hard to find, and surprisingly so for this style. Some rich malt and sugar notes, but pretty weak.

A burnt brown sugar bomb for sure, with some warming alcohol and leafy hop notes. Concentrated sweet and toasted malt dominates.

Palate coating and chewy, with some slick sugary maltiness on the finish. More sweet than bitter in the finish.

A heavy-flavored beer with some alcohol punch, not exactly something I'd double-down on. Very tasty, but a "one is enough" per sitting type of brew. I enjoyed it, and would seek it for a return to the style. Price is right ($2.15 for a 1 oz. single).

Photo of RunDWP
4.18/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I picked a six-pack of this up, somewhat on a whim and because it's a Lagunitas brew I haven't tried yet, and wow, what a brew! Another brown sugary type ale from Lagunitas that works!

It pours a nice mahogany color in the glass, with light brown foam and plenty of lacing on the glass. Slightly nutty aroma. The flavor is far more substatial than the aroma, and has plenty of nut malt goodness, with a brown sugar sweetness. This one is definately malt dominated, but finishes with a slightly earthy, grassy hops. Really liked the warm blend of flavors, here. Some heft in the mouthfeel from all that malt. Very smooth, and drinkable beer, especially if you don't mind all the sweetness.

Photo of xhcadamx
4.01/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - deep mahogany brown with ruby highlights. Little head but very tight lacing.

S - Lacking. Leather or tobacco.

T - WOW!!! Everything is this joint. Reminds me somewhat of Imperial Red Ale. I wish the smell followed suit. Hoppy and malt fruitiness.

M - thin for the style but helps in the drinkability.

D - I like this.

Photo of spointon
3.7/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I poured this one from a 12oz stubby brown bottle into a shaker pint glass.

A= This ale poured a dark reddish brown color with a 1/2" dense tan head. The head stayed a while and eventually dropped to a thin skim. Lots of sticky lace down the sides of my glass.

S= The aroma was really sweet, with a heady, brown sugar and molasses quality.

T= Like the aroma, the flavor was super sweet, almost cloying but not quite. Loads of molasses/brown sugar flavor over a rich brown maltiness. The finish tried to dry out a bit and only partially succeeded.

MF= Heavy bodied beer, with a solid carbonation level and a big amount of surface tension. All of this resulted in a slick feel.

D= This is a unique beer, but not one I could ever drink more than 1-2 of in a sitting. Would appeal to those who like very sweet beers.

Photo of Soneast
3.93/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear, brown to burgundy color with a thick, light brown colored head, that sticks around longer than average, leaving lots of klingons on the side of the glass as it recedes.

Aroma has a lot of sweet character, syrupy malts, brown sugar and some mild dark fruit aromas.

The flavor is represented pretty well in the aroma, It consists of the sweet malt characters once again, brown sugars, molasses and hints of dark fruits, with just a very mild bitter finish, not enough to ruin the overall thick, sweet character of the beer.

Very nice texture on this medium heavy bodied beer, feels great in the mouth with just enough carbonation to tickle the taste buds but not ruin the creamy texture of the beer. The alcohol is fairly well hidden, only detected in the mild warming sensation it imparts. I first tried this beer at a beerfest a couple weeks ago and really enjoyed it so when I saw a 6-pack at my local beer store I couldn't resist. It tastes every bit as good as I remember!

Photo of ZAP
4.35/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I'm impressed with this one....aroma is rich and malty with dark fruits....the taste is also rich and malty with a nice fruitness...caramel, brown sugar, plums, pears, a little grannysmith apple....

A very nice strong ale I would definitely enjoy drinking many more of..

Photo of Ricelikesbeer
3.79/5  rDev -1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

pours a little thin, and not much head. a little murky and plain brown. smell is sweet with just a little funk. Definately not overpowering, but noticeable. Taste is also sweet, malty with alittle brett funk and sugar. Good finish, and is sweet and hides the high alcohol. Mouthfeel is decent, fairly smooth, nothing special is pretty drinkable and decent all around. Nothing amazing for this style, but pretty good and worth the money to try. Sweet and a different than most other american wilds I have had, just not too special.

Photo of ffejherb
3.3/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle into shaker pint on 3/17/09. Thanks to Kegatron for donating a bottle to my beer charity.

A - Poured a clear deep reddish/burgundy/mahogany color with lots of particulates suspended throughout and a slim head that transformed into a wispy retention and left virtually no lacing on the glass.

S - Mild leafy, tea-like and herbal hops and some dark fruit notes suggesting raisins and prunes. Not overly alcoholic given the ABV of this brew, yet it does become more apparent as the liquid reached room temperature. Pretty muted nose overall.

T - Subtle alcohol notes paired with a dark fruit tang and a touch of tea-like hop bitterness in the finish. Some spicy notes appear in the backend akin to clove and coriander. There is also a touch of black licorice sweetness.

M - Medium body with a syrupy texture and pretty lively carbonation on the tongue. Bitterness is actually quite pronounced on the palate.

D - Not really my cup of tea. Pretty subtle in aroma and flavor, overall. Not bad per se, but just not a style that appeals to me compared to a DIPA, Imperial Stout or even a good old fashioned pilsner.

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

Appearance: Dense dark brown body with ruby highlights. A tannish head clocks in just shy of a finger high and great curtains of lace.

Aroma: Lots of sweet, caramelized, almost burnt malt with some dark fruit and a healthy dose of booze.

Taste: Still lots of sweet caramel malt and dark fruit with a little spiciness mixed in and a decent splash of hops for some balance. The alcohol is kept in check, but is a constant companion.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied and smooth with low carbonation.

Drinkability: A sipper, but perhaps a little above average for the style.

Verdict: Hairy Eyeball is somewhat similar to Brown Shugga', but certainly different enough to warrant its existence. Perfect for a cold and drizzly day like today. I'll be aging a couple of bottles next to the bottles of Brown Shugga' to see how it evolves.

Photo of oriolesfan4
4.23/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lagunitas... one of my favorite breweries. Not only are their beers all delicious and consistent, but they are all high ABV and well priced too... (usually like 8.99 or 9.99 a 6 pack or 3.99 a bomber) This beer is no exception, pours a nice dark red/brown. Tons of lacing and good head retention, sexy. On the light bodied side, very sweet taste to it. Sort of took me by surprise but it had a nice mouthfeel to it. Very hoppy but well balanced with the sweetness. Some alcohol taste kicks in at the end, but it has a nice warming appeal to it. The sweetness was a tad bit too present for me, but other than that this is a great beer... here's lookin atcha!

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

This beer caught me a bit off guard and was sort of a let down.. It basically in all ways is very similar to a dark bock (an eis, maybe not as far as a double but close).. In fact if you gave me a blind tasting of it I would insist it had to be one.. but it is an ale, in fact.. So I was a bit disappointed as I was hoping for something unique from this "american strong ale"...
That being said, it is not a bad beer at all.. Dark amber/brown pour. Fruity, bready, malty smell with caramel (again, think bock). The flavors are very malty, with caramel and a cola-like taste, raisins, and only a trace of bitterness in the aftertaste. Medium bodied with a full-mouthed presence.. Again, its very similar to say an eisbock or perhaps a darker scotch ale.. Definitely good, but nothing unique.

Photo of djeucalyptus
3.81/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

poured into an oversized snifter, hairy eyeball appears a deep raisin hue with hints of glowing amber and garnet. A dirty cream head of a solid finger sticks around for a while, eventually giving way to a thin frothy cap that leaves impressive sheet-like lacing down the glass.

aroma of caramel, malt, raisins, cherries and prunes. Pine and a bit of herbal hopping. a hint of mellow spice... star anise, cloves... maybe cinnamon.

taste is sweet, with a heavy malt up front, followed by a slightly spicey, slighty bitter middle. hops, candied dark fruit, and a bit of pine. raisins and prunes. hints of cocoa and coffee. A clean, lightly alcoholic and piney bitter finish. Nothing really dynamic or astounding, but definitely some solid flavors.

mouthfeel is pretty solid. can't really knock it. Full bodied with ample carbonation creates creaminess out of what would otherwise be a sticky and syrupy mess. Rich, smooth, creamy, and clean.

All in all, pretty dang drinkable for a strong ale. A bit syrupy/sweet on the whole, but that's not necessarily bad. I wouldn't want to drink more than one or two, but I'm sure I could. Kind of reminds me of Brown Sugga, but with a bit more hops, a bit more sweetness, and a bit more strong. Nothing really amazing, but an all-round impressive strong ale.

Photo of mjl21
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle poured into a snifter. Bottle states it comes in at 56.7 IBUs and 8.7%. No bottling info is given but this should be the 2009 batch.

A-Pours dark brown with a half finger tan head. A decent foamy ring remains with nice foamy spots floating in the middle. No lace.

S-Sweet malt and raisins/prunes.

T-Sweet malt and raisins. Like a Dubbel without the yeast flavor. Some minor lingering bitterness from the hops. Aftertaste reminds me of a perfectly cooked marshmallow.

M-Heavier bodied, crisp carbonation, and sticky feeling left on the lips.

D-Alcohol is well hidden. Sweetness ultimately limits consumption.

A good American strong ale for a cold night.

Photo of whoneeds8
3.76/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out a dark brown that isn't completely opaque with a small white head. Minimal lacing. Smell is kinda metallic more than anything. First taste is of the chocolate-ish malts. Hardly any hop bite at the end. Definatly a sweet beer. Mouthfell makes this a good drinker, alchol isn't overpowering and carbonation is just right.

Photo of LennyV
3.24/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Growler purchased at halftime. Pours a Black Mahogany into my corsendonk Christmas ale glass. NIce Tan head with no lacing

Smells of malt not much else

Taste of malt wish some bitterness in the end.

This is a full bodied brew, you can see the thickness as you pour feels soft and creamy in your mouth.

Not one of my favorates, its just to malty for me

Photo of cmoney311
2.51/5  rDev -34.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

A: pours a deep amber with a thin cream colored head.

S: has a sweet barleywine type scent to it, a hint of dark berries.

t: lacks in anything special, perhaps a dark berry aftertaste. a strong alcohol burn basically dominated every taste aspect to me.

d: i usually consider Lagunitas my favorite brewery and usually love every beer of theirs that i come across, but this is the first one i don't care too much for. good to drink one or two at a time - a few more than that if you are looking for a good sunday afternoon acoustic jam session buzz...

i did save one for aging purposes and will compare it to next year's batch.

Photo of Magpie14
4.15/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: burgundy and scarlet colors with just a hint of orange. Very good head retention with a speckling of tiny marks gathering around an occasional glob of lace. Head was soft and foamy with a light tan hue

S: at first whiff grains and malts, buttery brown sugar, juicy fruits of the bright variety: oranges, lemons, and apricots

T: this beer maintains a flavorful profile with a great mixing of sweetness and fruits. Fruits come back with nectarines, lemons, pineapple, and has a slight kick with agile acidity. The finish has a slight spiced raisin and fig feel, at times reminds me of a Belgian style beer. Otherwise this brew is all in tact! Malty presence is very nice and levels the playing field of soft fruits and chunks of caramel

M: I am having a real easy time drinking this one. Medium body, creamy texture, and very well mannered in the glass. Soft and just a bit sticky...almost chewy

D: another plus on the list of beers for me. Lagunitas makes another tasty and voluptuous brew. Also, almost 9% in the firewater category...I would not believe it for a second this is very tame

Photo of Sweasty
3.93/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Dark mahogany. Off white head. Falls to a ring. Leaves lacing down the glass.

Smell: Hint of roast coffee and chocolate. There's some herbal pine. Thats followed by figs, raisins, and a touch of spice.

Taste: Initial taste of sweet caramel. Thats followed by figs and raisin. The finish is dry and bitter with notes of orange and pine.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied and velvety smooth.

This a great brew. A perfect choice for a cold weather sipper. Another top notch brew from the folks at Lagunitas.

Photo of stephens101
3.64/5  rDev -5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very dark brown with some cherry red hues. The small tan head fades fast and leaves a couple of small fingers of lace sticking out. Notes of burnt sugar, tree bark, pine resin and dark fruits (plums, prunes, grapes) rise to the nose. A vinegary essence is noticed as well. Tastes sweet and sugary, but not cloying. There's a good hop bite mixed in along with some more dark fruits. Mouth-feel is a bit creamy at first with some dryness working itself in over time. It lies just between medium and heavy. A slight shake foments a small and quick bubble blast, indicating a low level of carbonation. The alcohol becomes more evident as the drink warms. This is kind of like a subdued barleywine, and it has a really cool name. All in all, I'd say it's a damn good drink.

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

A- dark, amber brown body with a tan head that leaves a sticky lacing.

S- strong malt aroma. some fruitiness and a hint of alcohol. not a lot of hops detectable in the smell.

T- hmmm. it doesn't taste a whole lot different than their barleywine. its fruity with a good balance of malts and hops. the malt character is more pronounced here than in the barleywine, and the alcohol, even though it is much less, is more detectable.

M- full bodied for sure. thick and smooth and perfectly carbonated.

D- it drinks well, though i would not have more than 2 or 3. it fills you up for sure. overall, pretty good.

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

Pours a clear copper color with two fingers of tan head that had good retention. Moderate amount of sticky lacing is left on the glass. Figs and prunes is what I get from the aroma. Some alcohol is also detected. Very malty charactor in the flavor. Dark fruits again, especially figs comes to mind. Sort of a sticky sweet aftertaste and the alcohol is barely noticed. A tad overcarbonated but otherwise a nice body. Nice flavors but something I would grow tired of after one, maybe two bottles. The high ABV does not help drinkability.

Photo of Pencible
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This poured a clear, dark cherry color with tan head. It smelled like raisin and prune with brown sugar, earthy whole wheat, and a bit of sweet chocolate. It tasted like fresh barley and oak with some wild yeast, and a bit of semi-sweet chocolate and sour cherries and alcohol. It was quite thick with some carbonation, and had a lasting bittersweet aftertaste. Overall this had a nice malty scent and a clean flavor, but wasn't as sweet as expected. (Perhaps it would sweeten with age?) The wild/sour flavors also didn't seem to fit. It had a very nice full body, and was fairly easy to drink despite some alcohol being noticeable. I enjoy this beer, but there is certainly room for improvement.

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

After many years of consuming the "ball", I am happy to review it.

First off...I love the name of the brew!

It pours a beautiful burgandy/brown pour with a small foamy head.

The aroma consists of dark cherry, brown sugar, dates and roasted malts.

A smooth creamy taste to the palate. A velvety mouthfeel with tastes of fig and molasses.

Deceptively drinkable with the 8.7% alcohol volume.

A nice beer year after year from a local brewery.

Hairy Eyeball Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 2,239 ratings.