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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

1,968 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,968
Reviews: 847
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 11.75%
Wants: 36
Gots: 121 | 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: 1,968 | Reviews: 847 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of germaniac
3.98/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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...

germaniac, Feb 24, 2006
Photo of Freshie
4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Freshie, Feb 21, 2006
Photo of scottoale
4.55/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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!

scottoale, Feb 15, 2006
Photo of Dukeofearl
3.83/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

Dukeofearl, Feb 11, 2006
Photo of DogFood11
3.78/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

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.

DogFood11, Feb 10, 2006
Photo of pjwilson
4.53/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

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.

pjwilson, Feb 06, 2006
Photo of ElGordo
4.05/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

ElGordo, Feb 04, 2006
Photo of Bcant
3.25/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

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).

Bcant, Jan 21, 2006
Photo of DrJay
4.28/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

DrJay, Jan 17, 2006
Photo of Iguana
4.22/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

Iguana, Dec 27, 2005
Photo of amatuerbeerguy
3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 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.

amatuerbeerguy, Nov 13, 2005
Photo of imblane
4.4/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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'!

imblane, Oct 16, 2005
Photo of paterlodie
4.22/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

No freshness date. Not much head, but there and dark brown and clear beer. Nose is lots of cramel and good hopnose( european) with roast. Next to that malty, peppery and dry. Taste is not as it is quiet sweet, carramellic and liqorice. Hops defenitly not forgotten but also good maltiness all together full malty and fine. Not that much carbonation but think stylelike so overal good mouthfeel too. Well balanced brew that i enjoyed and like to meet again someday.

paterlodie, Aug 19, 2005
Photo of goodbyeohio
2.93/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

12oz bottle

dark reddish amber and light bubbly foam, lots of carbonation rising through the top and disrupting the beer's white cap. smells of rich malts and sugary toasted hops. some brown sugar and light cherry. very bitter and strong, but finishes cleaner than expected with chocolate remnants on the tongue. body texture overall is a bit too light for the punch the flavor packs. increases drinkability, but lowers mouthfeel points for sure. abv is masked by the somewhat flavor-inhibiting hop bitterness which is probably a plus.. methinks this to be a mass-produced unfocused strong beer.. like a steel reserve for the beer advocate set.

goodbyeohio, Jun 15, 2005
Photo of Gagnonsux
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The color is dark maroon with a ruby glow when viewed against a light source. The head is good-sized, somewhat creamy, and light brown. Aroma is of citrusy west coast hops with an underlying rich maltiness. The aroma is just a little subdued compared to what I expected. A sip starts with a tasty citrusy hop flavor with a nice bitterness. Then the rich malts kick in and give the beer a much more complex taste. There is a nice richness here, yet it never seems like it would stop you from drinking more than one bomber. This is definently a "bigger" beer that is deceptive in it's ease of drinkability. Totally recommended.

Gagnonsux, Jun 15, 2005
Photo of Sammy
3.6/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Volo had 7.3% a.b.v. on their menu, but there was more of a 9% presence here. Brownish with a mocha head, significant head and lace, overflowing bottle a bit like Belgians do once the bottle was opened. Horrible aroma, fishy and like someone sweaty had drunk from this glass just prior. Not like to think about that. Pefectly served at Volo at just under room temperature and enjoyed on their deck. Smooth, creamy, refreshing, full mouthfeel. Hops came at you more and more, but carbonation was not overbearing rather drying. Spicy hop aftertaste.Had two years later, aroma quite passable and so an upgrade.

Sammy, May 27, 2005
Photo of Naerhu
4.33/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

a - Amber brown in color, amazing lacing, extremely tight head.
s - Lush barley aroma, fresh gingery hops.
t - Amazingly balanced. Lush malt, hoppy bitterness that supports the maltyness. Spicy and resiny.
m - Fine carbonation, light body, alcohol nicely integrated. Extremely smooth.
d - This is a great beer made dangerous by its lightness and freshness. The best Ive had from this brewery.

Naerhu, May 18, 2005
Photo of HardTarget
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

overall: 3.9
appearance: 4
smell: 3.5
taste: 4
mouthfeel: 4
drinkability: 4

Aroma: Firm Hop aroma that reminds me of Bigfoot. As time passes, the aroma fades out to a more malt based, English aroma.
Appearance: Dark brown with slightly blood red ruby edges. Slightly off white head leaves wisps of lace.
Flavor: Dark, sweet, rich, all the classic barley wine characteristics. The flavor seems mild for a barley wine but maybe I’ve just had too many Bigfoots (Bigfeet? Bigfooties?) this season. The beer hides its alcohol well.
Mouthfeel: Medium/heavy body with a slow fading mouth coat.
Overall Impression: A nice English style barley wine that is quite enjoyable, if a bit mild. Nice rich malt and a strong kick, but no real craving for another. A good offering with good drinkability for a Barley Wine.

appearance: 4
smell: 4
taste: 3.5
mouthfeel: 4
drinkability: 4.5

Bottle Inspection: Aged bottle, about 1.5 years old. Has 8.8% abv, 56.66 IBU and O.G. of 1.090 listed on the label, along with some funny blurb.

Aroma: Rich malt base supports a heady hop assault, like a cross between Old Foghorn and Arrogant Bastard (why do I keep comparing this beer to others?). Pine hops and caramel malt both barely conceal an alcoholic aroma; this is going to have a kick.

Appearance: Raspberry red edges on a dark amber glass crowned by a tan creamy head the faded to a collar but laced nicely.

Flavor: Alcohol is a bit hot, but not bad. Dark fruit in the malt, and the hops are a bit more tame in the taste, but still strong and piney, with a hit of citric. The fruity plum/raisin malt compliments more than balances the citric/pine hop.

Mouthfeel: Low carbonation (though the second pour was a bit fizzy) medium-heavy body with a thick texture, a slight hop pucker and a slowly fading coat combine to leave a very warming effect.

Overall Impression: Hardcore stuff. Makes for a good sipper. It’s like Lagunitas answer to Arrogant Bastard, and not a bad one. I can see buying more.

HardTarget, May 13, 2005
Photo of walleye
3.28/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From the bottle, poured deep red with off white head. aroma, dark fruits, malts, hops, sour raspberries, plums, alcohol, chocolate, raisins. flavor sweet choclate, malts, plums, raisins, when it warmed up the alcohol came out, a nice bitter finish. enjoyed this

walleye, May 10, 2005
Photo of beersarang
4.13/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice dark penny copper. Huge light tan head leaves some generous lacing down the sides of my grand pilsner glass.
Smells like sweet malts, molasses, toffee etc. All contained in a baked bread.

Enters the mouth with a vengence, delivering a complex and strong malt background with a moderate dosage of hops. Hop bitterness is very smooth and well rounded, alcohol character is subtle despite the 9%. Nice molasses finish.

Chewy hearty mouthfeel, medium carbonation.
Quite enjoyable, I had not even heard of lagunitas until tonight, and now I'm glad to be introduced to such a good brewing company.

beersarang, May 04, 2005
Photo of Pegasus
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Clear reddish broen color, with a small off-white head, modest streams of carbonation, lots of broken lacing.

Aroma: Prominent caramel aroma and mild hops, with a slightly buttery note.

Taste: Heavy toasted malt, lots of sweet caramel notes, and spices, finishes with a slight metallic hop note that lingers on long after the taste ends.

Mouth feel: Smooth and very full, with almost no sting of carbonation, very pleasing.

Drinkability/notes: A very pleasant and understated strong ale, not really suitable as a session beer due to the high alcohol content, but a very pleasant beer to share with friends. In this area (Central Texas), Lagunitas bombers, including this one, sell for $2.99 - $3.49. In my opinion, this is a very good value for the price paid.

Pegasus, Apr 21, 2005
Photo of Truh
4.05/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Spoke with animals like the Beastmaster with this one on 4/2/2005. 16-oz. Lagunitas glass pint pour at the [AC]PH.

Finger thick foam at start settles to a lightening film with some very nice lacing. Real mahogany brown hue, on the darker side, and quiet before the storm still ness to the whole affair. Real fungal hop presence on nose, with some fruity notes as well but on the whole the bouquet is quite sedate, which is surprising given the style. Real caramel shot up the nose on mouth, with a mix of crushed and smoke roasted walnuts, finishing with a hop vine of bitterness. As the pour warms, some slightly buttery aspects come to the fore. Like it a lot.

Truh, Apr 04, 2005
Photo of grapemaster
3.63/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Hello, what have we here? I said to myself as I poured out a deep auburn brew. I thin tan head caught my eye and said..."I am going to be a tasty beer" The smell was smooth and sweet, just like many other things that I love. The smoothness carried over fromt the smell to the taste, under the guidance of a sweet, somewhat carmel taste. It was strong and and bold and overall a nice beer.

grapemaster, Mar 31, 2005
Photo of santoslhalper
4.4/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearence: Pours a lovely dark ruby with a thin, beige head.

Smell: The smell is of sticky sweet malts a nice amount of hops that add a needed touch.

Taste and Mouthfeel: The first thing I taste is an incredible caramel flavor. Lucious and smooth, it's well rounded by the warming alcohol. The hop bitterness has a sharp bite at the end which is quite enjoyable. The whole way through this is a very sweet beer. The mouthfeel is thick and full.

Drinkability and Overall: This is another excellent beer from Lauginats. It's the second of theirs I've had (bother Barleywines), and while the Gnarlywine was a little better, this is still a kick ass brew. Full of flavor and complexity, yet incredibly smooth and well balanced. Thanks to my buddy GClakrage for yet another wonderful beer. This one is a keeper for sure.

santoslhalper, Mar 23, 2005
Photo of droomyster
3.73/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark reddish brown, cloudy copper. Small brown head that recedes quickly but not completely, leaving an attractive skin of foam over the top, quick, lively carbonation. Strong smells of ripe cherries and molasses. Tastes of very sweet and chewy malts, a bit too sweet for my taste, and yummy nuts. Lovely mouthfeel of medium-heavy satin. Long sticky finish and hops that finally come out and express themselves as pine and black tea. Hints of milk chocolate emerge in the finish after it warms. The high alcohol in this brew is well hidden in the nose and mouth but definitely warms the gut. I'm rating the last bottle of a six pack; it took me the first five for this beer to grow on me because the sweetness was just too much, but now I find this beer pretty pleasant.

droomyster, Mar 22, 2005
Hairy Eyeball Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 1,968 ratings.