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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: 897
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: 897 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of UA8
3.36/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a hazy and dark maroon with nearly nitro poured looking head.

S- Scents of pineapple, bubble gum, sour yeast, and sweet malts.

T- Starts rather sweet with malts leading the palate parade, followed by a touch of yeast tang and finishing off with a bit of alcohol heat and metallic/ chemical taste (a touch of aluminum can things going on there).

M- Medium roundness and carbonation.

D- Not sure what to thin of this but I have to say there are lot of better offerings in this style and by this brewer.

Photo of br3wmeister
4.02/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- The beer is a dark red almost brown in color with a small off white head with tiny bubbles. The head dissipates quickly leaving a nice thin layer on top of the beer.

S- Lots of sweet malty aromas. Brown sugar, caramel and roasted almonds. Some nutmeg and a hint of cherries and vanilla. There is a light yeast and hop presence but nothing to overwhelming.

T- Lots of spicy herbal yeast an hops with a huge barley back bone. Traces of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. Good caramel sweetness with lots of hoppy bite. this is a big beer with lots of big flavors.

M- Medium body that is a little oily on the tongue. Good balance of hops and malts and near perfect carbonation.

Overall- This is a bold beer that has a lot going on. Lots of big flavors that make you want more.

Photo of Domingo
4.12/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a pretty deep copper color with a slightly off-white head on the top.
Smells really sweet and malty, but with some trademark west coast hops in there.
The taste is actually not like I expected at all! I was prepared for something typically hoppy and American barleywine'esque but it isn't necessarily. The flavor is really sweet with over-ripe fruits, caramel, nutty bread, and brown sugar. The yeast tastes almost like a Belgian ale yeast. The hops are pretty subdued, letting the malt run the show. Nice! I was getting bored of hoppy strong brews, and this one isn't. The 8% is well hidden and the hops are only there to keep the finish from being like syrup.
Mouthfeel is thick and pretty slick, which keeps you from downing it too quickly.
Drinking a second bottle of this would be no problem at all. A 3rd might even be feasible...but I probably wouldn't do it.
Nice. This is almost like a really high octane English Barleywine with an unusual yeast being used.

Photo of champ103
3.7/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a murky ruby red color. A small white head forms with light lace.
S: Fruity and sweet malt. Light hop bitterness. Not very complex, but pleasant.
T: Fruity flavors of peach and apples. Caramel malt. Again, not very complex. Though I do enjoy it.
M/D: A medium body, but kind of thin. A little heat from the alcohol, but a good beer to sip on.

Not bad. Enjoyable, but a bit standard. Worth a try though.

Photo of BigMike
4.05/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep crimson color with very little head and little to no lacing.

Smells to me more like a nice Chianti then a beer. Alcohol is very present in the nose.

Spicey and sweet flavor at the same time. A pretty complex mix of flavors going on here. Some i cant quite pinpoint.

Has somewhat of a wine tasting finish to it with an alcohol warmth.
Think and chewy mouth feel.
Actually finishes pretty smoothly for almost 9%abv.

Overall this is a really good Ale!

Photo of Perdue125
4.08/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearence: Nice and dark with a good creamy head with good retention and lacing.

Smell: Is light and sweet with a hint of caramel

Taste: Very Sweet up front with caramel and raisins. A hint of citrus from the the hops. Finish has a slight alcohol taste.

Mouthfeel: Seems a tad light for a strong ale but no real complaints

Drinkability: Probably a little more drinkable than the average Strong Ale due to the light mouthfeel, I wouldn't drink more than 2 in a sitting.

Photo of Clydesdale
4.2/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: A cloudy brownish-red color with a fairly large, tight and creamy light tan head with very good retention and lacing.

S: Sweet caramel malt up front, although a bit mild. Golden raisins, sweet citrus, perhaps even pineapple. Some estery alcohol also detectable, although rather well-hidden. Spicy hints of clove and candied fruit.

T: Sweet, sugary caramel malt. Brown sugar/molasses definitely present. Fades into a fruity, spicy, and increasingly bitter finish. Candied fruit, especially golden raisins and dried pineapple. Some floral, herbal, and tobacco-like hop flavors. Some alcohol is present, but it's been integrated nicely. Spicy flavors of yeast, cloves, and perhaps ginger. Lots going on here.

M: A sticky, sweet body. Carbonation is pretty light. At times boozy and heavy; at others easily quaffable for the style and ABV. Just shy of coatingly sweet. Fairly creamy.

D: I'm pretty impressed with this. Quite complex and definitely delicious. For its high alcohol content, it drinks nicely. I'll look for this one earlier next year - very appealing.

Photo of albern
4.12/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Not usually a big fan of Amer Strong Ales, but this one is quite good. It pours a nice ruby and mahogany color with a decent off white, almost orange tinged colored head. Lots of lacing, some retention. The nose is very berry flavored, big caramel malts, very sweet, slightly earthy feel in the nose.

The taste has a bit of an ABV throaty burn, but not bad at all for an 8.8% beer. The taste has the berry sweetness indicative of the nose, there is some hop punch in the beer; there are some barleywine qualities in the beer. It is pretty full bodied, a tad syrupy, pretty low carbonation, a bit sweet and sticky, a touch cloying, but overall this is a good beer. The beer has a sweet liqueur quality to it in the best sense, without the alcohol harshness, although there is plenty of ABV in the beer that is more warming than anything else. Overall, the beer is quite complex and enjoyable.

Photo of PoolhouseRebel
3.48/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into an imperial pint glass. A brownish red with a decent head right in between beige and tan, not much lacing on the glass.

Smell is sweet and sugary, almost caramel with big fresh fruit or berry notes and some alcohol behind it.

Tastes the same as the nose with some nice citrus to go along with it. Not getting much of an aftertaste in this however, it seems like all the flavors happen right on the tongue leaving more of a feel than an aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is medium, nicely balanced between slick and carbonated

Good drinkability but could have been bigger and I would've liked to taste a bit more alcohol in this one. A solid brew. nonetheless.

Photo of beerfairy
3.43/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Nice brown or dark caramel color with a beautiful 1 inch thinck creamy head. Great lacing on the glass. Head and lacing maintain throughout the experience.

S: Heavy malt smell, a bit of fruitiness

T: Malty but not overpowering, you can taste a slight bit of alcohol after drinking about half the bottle.

M: Coats the mouth well, bit of a bite from the alcohol at the end.

D: With the 8.8% ABV I can't drink more than a few of these in a sitting, but it's not a bad beer.

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

12 oz. bottle poured into a Thomas Hardy's snifter.

Appearance: A darker amber color with swirling carbonation and a darker orange off-white head, leaving raindrop lacing around the glass.

Smell: Malty and spicy at the forefront. Caramel malts, a bit of fruit, good spiciness with some pepper, and almost some spicy biting citrus, which I like since I hope that means it won't be too much of a malt bomb.

Taste: Yes, good. A good interesting balance between the citrus and almost interestingly Saison-like and sour hops, unless it's some kind of yeast they're using. Then some brown sugar, caramel malts, and fruit sweetness come in, and maybe some bitter chocolate. Finish is mellow and there's hardly a semblance of alcohol, which is nuts. Finish has more hop bitterness and sourness than I expected, but it's still mellow and holds back a bit of the more caramel and chocolate malt flavors. I wonder if this bottle has already had a chance to maybe mellow out a bit? Good stuff.

Mouthfeel: A big brew, and the mouthfeel to come with it. Coating, but not enough sugars or out-of-whackness to be cloying. Could be creamier and a bit more carbonated, but as it stands it's certainly good for this high of an ABV.

Drinkability: A solid Strong Ale from Lagunitas. Especially at around $9-$10 a sick-pack, you can make this one last over a long snifter session. I wish it packed more of a punch overall, and even though I don't smoke cigars, for some reason I imagine this is one that would go well with one. And not only that, it's warm out right now, in February in Richmond, and the beer is drinking just fine. That adds some points, since most would be reserved, at least for me, for winter.

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

Delayed-release head, tan with medium sized bubbles. Not much of it, and it dissipates very quickly. Tiny whisps. A dark but clear amber-brown brew, it pours a tad thick.

Molasses, caramel, a whiff of cherries to the nose. Vanilla. Dough malt. The slightest hint of alcohol.

Sweet, dark fruit. Dark bread. Vanilla. Some slight spice, white pepper. I wonder if it is due to the alcohol. Tobacco. I saw that another advocate noted the presence of tobacco in the aroma, and I'm not sure that I've ever used it as a descriptor, but the former smoker in me definitely tasted a hint of it. A bit of soy sauce. Some pine hops at the end, a hint of resin. Surprisingly well balanced, though this is of course a malt-heavy brew.

Some slight syrupiness, a sensation I generally dislike, but it isn't too bad here. Heavy feel, but with a surprisingly (given the lack of head) good carbonation kick. Prickliness builds, after starting out negligible.

Tasty, pretty darn drinkable. Dangerously so, in fact. ABV contributes a bit to the taste, but it very well hidden nonetheless.

Photo of washburnkid
3.82/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

I haven't had the most consistent experiences with Lagunitas IPA, so I sprang for their current seasonals to give this nearby brewery another shot!

Thin film of head disappears quickly over a brown body with copper and amber highlights. Smells of roasted dark malts, very sweet and pleasant fruits with the slightest alcohol coming through. Tastes of malts and hops, balanced so perfectly; flavors of nut and chocolate make me wonder if this beer is the spawn of a porter and a brown ale. Only the tiniest bit of sour and alcohol pulls through each sip. The mouthfeel is what is unattractive for me. Medium carbonation is just fine, but the beer itself is light, water and even thin. An exceptionally easy beer to drink overall--it's like the nearly 9% alcohol stayed in the bottle during the pour! I'd recommend Arrogant Bastard over this one in the category, but I'm pleased with this Lagunitas release. It's perfect for a rainy night.

Photo of paco1029384756
3.98/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep copper color with two fingers of off white head.

Scent of caramel, grass, earth, alcohol, tobacco, fruits, and some sugars. Nothing really too out of proportion with this beer, though the alcohol is a tad strong.

Taste of caramel, raspberries, strawberries, grass, some alcohol, and a hint of leather. Well balanced for the diverse flavors, alcohol is hidden pretty well.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with some carbonation, a bit thin.

Photo of soupyman10
3.77/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Grabbed this one cause I'm of the opinion that Lagunitas beers are consistently solid for a comparatively modest price. This one's no different, although I had the hardest time figuring out what the heck it was (barley wine? double IPA? strong ale?). Either way, pours a deep amber color with a small head that dissolves to a fairly fine film quickly. Smell is lots of fruit, sweet caramel malt, prunes, maybe some raisins. A touch of chocolate. Vanilla. Flavor's fairly similar, if with an added alcohol heat to it (as with most of Lagunitas's beers). Molasses, caramel, candy malt. A touch of fruit. Body is solid, appropriate for the style, with good carbonation. Overall, a solid brew if not one of my favorites of theirs (I'd go for the Brown Shugga over this one if in a Lag. strong ale duel).

6-pack/$11/Whole Foods

Photo of jujubeast6000
2.46/5  rDev -35.8%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Reviewed 1/25/2007 (22oz bottle):

Pours a dark brown black color, almost no head, quickly diminishing. Tan in color. Strong dark fruit aroma, grape, some hops, some alcohol. Taste of alcohol, hoppy flavor, some of that dark fruit taste again. Letting warm up a bit, hopefully the alcohol taste will be mellowed. Not much mellower.

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

Deep coppery brown in dull light but turns a nice ruby red up to a bright light. Slim cap of darkened yellowy foam emerges and resedes quickly. A few spots of lace trickle across the glass.

Aroma is softly yeilding on the nose with deep roasted malt slathered in a rich tang of brown sugar, vanilla, raisin, and fig.

Taste is a nice simple but lengthy tone of softly tangy malts that render a very well-rounded, semi chewy, dark fruit thickness. Solid date, fig, and raisiny goodness mellowed over well with hints to vanilla, brown sugar, and chewy molasses cookies.

Great medium body of soothingly easy textured malts with one creamy ease of mellowed tang and chewyness. Nice and lofty in the front and middle with a long gooey finish of dark malty stuff sticking around.

I found the drinkability here as pretty easy and quite high. The texture is amazingly amble and fillingly rich with a nice taste to match its soothingly silkenesk flow. Nothing Hairy about it really. More like yummy!

Photo of khiasmus
3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

"American 'strong' ale? What the heck is that? Us old-schoolers never called anythin' such." So said uncle Jimmy, with his curmudgeon jowls reminiscent of plastic bags on a windy day...
"Well I spose it LOOKS like a beer, can't say fairer than that... Like some sorta Amber ale or sumthin'... not much on the 'head' though. Is this sposed to be a good thing, this stickiness on the walls of the glass?"
"Called lacing, unc," I grunt, looking out across the yard at my cousins enjoying their swingset, as I enjoy my own creaky wooden porch-swing.
"I be durn if I ever heard a no beer with such a feminine side... you youngins and yer open minds... watch now, yer damned near yer brains fallin' out!"
I crack the obligatory half-smile and prod, "well, whaddya think?"
"Shore can smell the alcohol in this'n, boy. Some kinda plum-cake sweetness too, and I spose there's a bitter'n hop in there somewhere...."
He takes a first swallow and I'm proud that he took the time to smell it before quaffing the thing.
I sip my own.
"yep, just like the smell, but for the thickness of it... thas' a mighty warmin beer there, 'minds me a that 'ere whisky we'z a-drinkin yestereve." (He picked up that word from me. Thinks it makes him sound like a college grad...)
Really more of a barleywine, I think. Highly alcoholic, as uncle Jimmy pointed out. Hops are there, but don't quite get enough presence to override the intense molasses-syrup sweet and lingering spicy alcohol. The hops do leave a slight astringency, though a heavy one, along with the warmth of the finish. This one will probably age well.
"Well boy, I be durn if that ain't a good 'un. Be durn if it ain't."
"Quite right, Uncle Jimmy."

Photo of GilGarp
4.08/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours from a stubby 12oz. brown bottle into a pint glass. A slow pour into the center of the glass creates great white head on top of a perfect redish brown beer. There's good retention and nice lacing left behind on the glass.

Aroma is sweet and malty with a slight bit of sour cherries and alcohol.

Taste is nicely done with good bittering and sweetness in balance. There's certainly a lot of hops but what I really enjoy about this beer is the cherries, apples, and pears that give it a fruity, almost Belgian, quality to it. A bit of sour on the finish helps as well.

Mouthfeel is good for the style with full body and minimal carbonation. Just how I like it.

Drinkability is good for the strength but the almost 9% ABV will show itself after just a few sips.

Overall a good beer but there are other examples of the style that I enjoy better like Double Bastard and Odell's ESR. Still a good offering and at a fair price.

Photo of homebrew311
3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served from a 12 oz bottle into delerium nocturnum snifter.

A- A nice brownish red brew with a clear appearance. Thin offwhite head with nice lacing around the glass.

S- I detect a great amount of sweetness from the grains. Somewhat fruity, grape like.

T - Again, grain up front, can really detect the sweetness. Boozy taste as it goes down, but not too much considering the 8.8 ABV. Reminds me of DFH Raison D'Etre with a much sweeter grain profile.

M- Appears thin, but goes down thick and slightly syrupy. A little bit sticky.

D - Not good for a session, but very drinkable for a strong ale. A little bit too sweet for me, but another solid brew from Lagunitas that comes at a terrific value (8.99/6 pack)

Photo of ihaf2p
3.84/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I am a fan of Lagunitas but have reservations about beer with high ABV. This beer drinks very smooth and has a great brown sugar and molasses taste to it. ABV is not prevalent...could drink a couple of these with no problems. I did not get much aroma from the beer which was a little suprising...overall would probably buy it again.

Photo of ThirdLap
3.51/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Picked up a $10 sixer from Wine and Spirits World in Vacaville. Served in a RR tulip at about 55°.

A - Pours a dark cherry brown with a 1" light tan head that quickly recedes to a few millimeters. Minor agitation forces a dense return, reminiscent of a nitro pour. Slippery lacing leaves a highly cobwebbed glass as it empties.

S - Not its strong point. I get malt and hints of lighter fruits.

T - Well, it smells like malt for a reason; this is a very malt-forward beer. Most of the flavors you get with such beers are there (raisins, molasses, caramel, etc), but I'd be reaching if I said I was getting a whole lot more. Some spices perhaps. Hops are present but muted.

M - Medium carbonation, minimal alcohol burn, with a mildly bitter finish. Sticky and thick mouthfeel that works very well here. Pretty darn good.

D - Despite a very well-masked abv, drinkability suffers due to it being a rather uninspiring beer.

Photo of Frosty80
3.36/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Color: clear, dark amber

Smell: not very fragrant. maybe some dark fruit and malty sweetness with a little bit of alcohol

Taste: id say dominated by bitterness and alcohol, though that might give the wrong impression. there is a little bit of malty sweetness and dark fruit, but the alcohol and bitterness is more up front

Mouthfeel: medium body. low carbonation. smooth

Notes: just like Lagunitas - not a lot of anything here. its like they are too afraid of putting too much flavor in their beers. further evidence that lagunitas is overrated

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

At a friend's house, 12 ounce bottle poured into standard hi-ball glass.

Pours a nice foamy head of 1" atop a translucent dark reddish-brown brew.

Smell is of dark malts - Slightly sweet smelling and taste is a little sweet, but nice dark roast notes coffee and light hints of chocolate. Very well balanced with only a tough of bitterness from hops. Really nice carbonation and I never would have guess the ABV had I not read it on the bottle. No burn, very smooth. I could have a nice little session with this gremlin.

All and all, a superb brew. Thanks Scott.

Photo of supercolter
2.81/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

I will be very honest, I did not really enjoy this beer. Appearance is good, nice deep brown color with a little head and no lacing. Smell is okay with lots of dried dark fruit right up front, a bit of hops and way too much alcohol for 8.80% in my opinion. Taste is more of the same but something doesn't mix well here. It goes sour and not in a good way. Mouthfeel is decent, slightly above medium body. Drinkability is not that good.

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