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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

2,366 Ratings

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Ratings: 2,366
Reviews: 932
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 11.46%
Wants: 56
Gots: 308 | 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: 2,366 | Reviews: 932
Photo of ommegangpbr
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The Hairy Eyeball drinks more like an imperial brown ale than an American strong ale; at least that's what my palate tells me. Reminds me a tiny bit of Dogfish Heads India brown. Boozey sweet flavors with some backbone of hops to keep it from being sugary sweet. Shades of port wine flavor here and there but mostly I get a molasses type flavor. Raisins... I'm getting raisins out of this. Flirts with the line of being somewhat Belgian in style but doesn't quite make it there.
This is pretty good for what it's trying to be. I wouldn't always be in the mood for something like this, but when craving something sweeter I would certainly put this on the list for consideration. I like what Lagunitas does.

Photo of cbarrett4
3.78/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Hmmm.... poured with decent head and persistent lace. Good color. Smells of almond, some odd esters, dark and smoky with gamy, roasted meat aromas (beef jerky?)

Rich yet elegant on the palate. More smoky and gamy flavors with some hints of banana bread? Odd, very odd.

Light but delicious. Though very odd indeed. A touch tannic on the finish and that detracts from the overall drinkability.

Photo of bcm119
3.87/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown with a thin off-white lace. Deep, sweetish malt, spices, and dried fruit aroma, with a little booze. Similar in flavor: sweetish malts, dark fruit, and some alcohol. Baking spices and molasses overtones; hops lend balance and a hint of pineapple/ripe citrus. Body is lighter than the flavor would suggest, and the finish cleans up enough to fall just short of cloying at the back of the palate. A very nice beer, would make a great holiday sipper.

Photo of MetalHopHead6
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Lagunitas The Hairy Eyeball is boozy, sweet, and thick.

It poured black with a hint of red, like dark red cherry; with a short tan head. Of the five I've had, three left the glass crystal clean and two left a fair amount of lace. The smell was sweet and boozy; the flavor was sweet, with hints of brown sugar, whiskey, dark fruit, and vanilla. The feel was thick, smooth, and flat.

The Hairy Eyeball is a strong heavy ale with very little feel, a tad too much sweetness, but with nice warmth on a cold winter day.

Photo of notlob
3.28/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a dark, deep mahogany color, with a dense 1 finger head that dissipates quickly.

Aroma: Sweet caramel-toffee, dark fruits, and sweet alcohols.

Flavor: One sided with dark fruit, with a mild chocolate roast. A good bit of caramel sweetness and molasses.

Mouthfeel: Slick. Coats the mouth. Medium-low carbonation. Finishes somewhat cloying.

Overall impression: probably my least favorite offering from Lagunitas. Not an easy drinker, and not very complex to the point that I enjoy sipping on it.

Photo of clayrock81
3.7/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a reddish brown with a two-finger head that died slowly and left some lace. A very strong malt presence in the aroma; roasted and sweet along with some piney hops. A medium-bodied beer that I had to sip on as it is a little sticky and there are a good chunk of malts: caramel, bitter chocolate, toffee, coffee possibly and they definitely roasted some. Hop presence is minor but it gives off a sour fruit type taste. Balanced alright and passes the tongue leaving a dry backbite. A good ale that is worth trying.

Photo of wheatyweiss
3.73/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a czechvar glass.

Pours a rich dark brown with a two finger head that recedes to a nice thick cap.

Aroma is of alcohol up front. Light grain rides on astringent alcohol.

Flavor is roasted grain with a bit of dextrose. Brown sugar and molasses, there is a hint of coffee and smokey peat. Middle brings raisin and dark fruit, dark karo brings in a different flavor. Finishes slightly sweet and dry from the alcohol.

Mouthfeel is smooth and thick, nice.

A good beer.

Photo of ocelot2500
3.65/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear brown with a small off white head. Enough lacing on the glass.

Smells of dark fruits and a little spice.

Tastes of the dark fruits with a layer of spice on top. An earthiness is thrown in there. A little alcohol comes through as well.

Mouthfeel is medium with a smooth amount of carbonation.

Photo of j37geogaddi
4.13/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I haven't tasted this one in a while, unfortunately, for sure...

Nice clean dark brown color with minimal head.

Smell is pretty subdued, but for the style (not particularly hoppy) its not much of a surprise. Stil, raisins and caramel come through.

OK, this beer is my kind of beer. I've been moving towards less hoppy and more dark fruit/malt based beers lately and this fits the bill. Taste of dark cherries, raisins and burnt caramel. A little sweet but there are some hops so this isn't a sickningly sweet dark ale. Maybe my only complaint is that it lacks a particular direction because all flavors are competing with each other. I feel like one more tweak would do this beer wonders. Still its one of the best beers I've tried lately.

Mouthfeel is perfect. Carbonation is nice- on the low side maybe but not for the style. I think its the syrupy nature of the beer which is keeping the bubbles down...

Alocohol is well hidden. Definitely drinkeable for the style, but after 2 I'd be hard pressed to handle another. But who really needs more than 2 of this style anyway?

Photo of miramanmike
1.56/5  rDev -59.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

I did try this beer and I hate it. I will drink anything and everything. This beer was just not my thing. I would suggest that you do try it because Laginitas dose a great job at brewing and I find no real flaws with this beer (other than I don't Like its taste). I read the reveiw prior and I think this guy did like it and describe it correctly. I'll post his quote now "caramel, burnt sugar, golden raisins, with a slowly drying lightly bitter finish. Uninspiring..." and I would add very slightly if any bitter finish. OUT of BALANCE. raisen bomb. poop! but I'm an IPA lover so go figure. You decide!

Photo of kiddynamite920
4.2/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy, dark brown with less than a fingers worth of head. Nice ruby highlights. Smell is a bit muted but full of malts. Not much of a hop presence. Very nice peachy, apricot smell. Expecting a malt bomb here. Super malty and rich. Plums and dark cherries are present. Just a bit of spices (cinnamon and nutmeg). Very nice mouthfeel, thick and creamy. It actually is a very drinkable Am. Strong ale. Goes down very smooth and easy. Very nice beer.

Photo of superdedooperboy
3.76/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a tulip glass. ABV is noted on the label as 8.7%. No discernible freshness date present.

Pours a beautiful clear, deep ruby-brown with a huge, rich, creamy head of beige/light tan foam. Head retention is excellent, falling away slowly and clinging with its all to the walls of the glass, leaving behind thick patchy curtains as the vessel empties.

Aroma is quite sweet and fruity. Light notes of caramel and brown sugar grace the nose, with some sweet dark cherry and a hint of floral, mildly citrusy hop notes.

Body is medium-full with a rather light level of carbonation. On the tongue, the flavors start off a bit sweet, with caramel and a faint bit of toffee, a little maple and honey; the fruitiness kicks in next, with some very faint plum and maraschino cherry. Hops come in to play to counter the sweetness, but hop flavor is restrained and bitterness is mild. More fruitiness shows around the edges before a finish that shows light milk chocolate notes and a vague hint of toast. A light dry, grapefruit-like bitterness lingers.

Alcohol is well-hidden on the palate but by the end becomes evident in its effect. Overall, this is a solid beer but nothing overly spectacular. Would probably pair nicely with some mild milk chocolate or a maple-accented dessert.

Photo of hoplover82
3.77/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this at The Executive Surf Club. It was a nice suprise.

Poured almost black with deep rose and an off white thin barely there bubbly head with little lacing and no ok to poor retention.

The aroma is full of sweet raisin and prune notes and faint citrus hops.

The flavor is mainly the same as the aroma. And it reminds me of an Old Ale rather than just a Strong Ale. A nice hoppy bitter flavor comes out more that in the nose. Wish it was hoppier though as it does seem kind of cloying.

It's creamy with a crisp clean finish.

Very drinkable givin the abv. but I wouldn'y have more than 2 of these, especially if they were pints. Very glad I tried it.

Photo of jera1350
3.93/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours into a snifter a deep garnet shade of black. Syrupy look as it's poured. Some tan foam with sticky lacing on top.

Unique smell. It's like belgian meets barleywine. Sweet smelling with the yeast of a belgian but the hops of a barleywine. Interesting.

First of all, this beer does not fit any style that I've ever come across. In a style all its own. Good amount of bitter hops, lots of dark berry fruit and some roasty malts. Getting some belgian yeast flavor as well. Not sure if there is belgian yeast in this or not, but that's what's coming through. Bitterness lingers well after consumption.

Very velvety soft feel on the palate. More than medium bodied, but not full.

Like I said, not sure there is anything out there to compare this too. It's a really good beer that is so unique. I may just have to pick some more up to age and see how it develops. Recommend giving this one of a kind beer a try.

Photo of augustgarage
3.54/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Blue Palms in Hollywood. Served in a generic wide-mouth tulip.

Very dark brown with cherry highlights and two fingers of buff cream which recedes to a skin and crescent moon half collar. Gorgeous art-nouveau lacing.

Mild grassy hops and a savory element like bread dipped in some sort of herb-spread.

Very rich amber ale or weak barley-wine notes: caramel, burnt sugar, golden raisins, with a slowly drying lightly bitter finish. Uninspiring...

Rich, medium-full bodied with healthy carbonation.

The flavor profile is a bit weak. Not really interesting enough to warrant revisiting - maybe I should have gone with the Yakima Twilight instead...

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

Served on tap into a standard pint glass.

A - Deep reddish-brown color that is red around the edges. When held to the light, it is a deep red color that reminds me of cherry cough syrup. There is a quarter-inch white head that disappears in a couple minutes to a spotty foam. The head comes back quickly with a good swirl of the glass. There is good lacing all the way down the glass.

S - My drink was served way too cold. It takes awhile to coax any smell out of it. Eventually, I smell chocolate malt, coffee, and spicy hops.

T - Sweet, but not cloying. It starts with a sweet malt flavor, then slight chocolate, and finishes with a strong cherry taste. The hops provide a mildly medicinal aftertaste, which reinforces my visual impression of cherry cough syrup.

M - Full bodied and very low carbonation. It wraps my mouth with a creamy feel with almost no carbonated liveliness. It is sticky on the lips, mouth, and glass.

D - This tastes good, has an amazing mouthfeel, and left me wanting another. Didn't feel or taste the booze. Pretty strong flavor though, and I probably wouldn't want more than two in one sitting. I had a second draft a few days later at another bar, and took the same tasting notes.

Photo of SShelly
4.06/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big poofy white head on the pour with rediculous retention, dark amber, crystal clear beer.

Aroma has light hops with some sweet malt character.

Flavor is deeply malty with a little biscuit, some balancing bitterness with maybe a little hop flavor, finish is sweet malt that sits in the mouth.

a really great aftertaste with this beer, fairly easy drinking, not spectactular but solid.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.59/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An interesting concoction. Pours, a thin brown ale. Minimal head/aroma mainly getting some caramel, toffee and warmth across.

Taste, lots going on, toffee caramel undertones, good hop character, malt, not thick at all, alcohol not noticeable.

Mouthfeel, all the flavors come and go, then come again. Light biscuity bitterness. Very drinkable, its cheap, high in alcohol, low in presence.

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

A- Pours a deep brownish hue with a small, 1 finger tan head which fades quickly.

S- Hints of brown sugar and unidentifiable sweetness.

T- Lots of raisin, artificial dark fruit, hints of brown sugar, molasses.

M- Medium bodied with a decent amount of carbonation.

D- This was a decent brew overall but not one of lagunitas stronger

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

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: rusty brown color with a little translucence left. Two fingers of tan foam form an attractive crown.

Smell: strong, slightly sweet, slightly toasty malt aroma with a sizeable helping of peppery, lightly funky hops. The smell is quite well balanced between the two large characteristics.

Taste: not as hoppy or bitter as the smell would have me believe. There's quite a lot of malt character here, including caramel, a little nuttiness and a little chocolate. Hops are more floral, it seems, and play a much smaller supporting role than in the aroma. Still, quite tasty.

Mouthfeel: plenty of body with a little bit of syrupy stickiness so the flavor can hang around. Good; just what I'd expect from the style.

Drinkability: the hairy eyeball is very much a sipper to me. While I would not hesitate to have it again, it's definitely a one-at-a-time beer to sit back and appreciate.

Photo of ThreeWiseMen
2.86/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a 7oz. snifter.

Appearance: Pours out very dark, forming a short, off-white, foamy cap. Lousy head retention, but nice web-like lacing. Body is dark brown with bright shades of crimson. When held to light, the body shows excellent clarity.

Smell: Barbecue, English malts, brown malt, and something salty (weird salty). Pretty dry and dull. Not so hot.

Taste: Tastes like a strong mix of an American brown ale and an English brown ale. Lots of nuttiness and sweet grains, along with a medley of spices, buttery esters, and prickly hops. This is a very unique beer, but I'm not really into it.

Mouthfeel: Pretty light in body for being 8.8%. Mild carbonation provides a light, prickly feel. Finishes very warm and dry. Oily I suppose, but not sticky at all; Eyeball finishes pretty clean.

Drinkability: This is the second bottle I've had of Hairy Eyeball, and I just don't get it. I might have another bottle, but only if there's nothing better available.

Photo of WOTO97
3.92/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: nut brown with slight reddish hues, one-finger head, very decent lacing

S: strong malt presence, cola, lingering note of allspice

T: very bready, lots of malt character, raisins, has an odd herbal tea finish (from the hops) complements the malt character pretty well, hides the ABV very well

M: relatively thin given pronounced malt character

D: so i tried this again just now and tastes noticeably different, still has this odd hop finish lingers on the palate, but all-in-all a pretty decent brew

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

appearance: brown complexion. not much lacing though.

smell: heavy caramel brown sugar and bready sweetness

taste: caramel, Low alcohol bite with some bitter hops on the backend. good roasted malt. good winter warming beer.

mouthfeel: medium bodied,

drinkability: it was an alright beer. a little on the sweet end.

4.33/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Lagunitas "The Hairy Eye Ball"

At first sight, the malt really shows in the appearance in the ale. A nice Carmel head with lacing, still after settled. The smell is present, but not over powering. The taste and mouthfeel are worth every sip. The taste has a alcohol presence, that is needed and exceptional, no hiding the 8.83%. The mouthfeel is great, like a thick milk shake.
the "drinkability" is not that of rice lagers, but for the alcohol content it goes down nicely.
Great Ale.

Photo of ktrillionaire
3.28/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

G – Duvel tulip

A – The color is very deep chestnut brown, translucent but nearly impermeable to light due to its extremely deep hue. Very nice head on this one, plastered lacing. Very impressive looking.

S – Interesting smell with hints of cola, cinnamon, raisin, cherry, vanilla, oat.

T – Tastes pretty okay, but it has some flavors that I am not crazy over, specifically green tea and caramel. Blatant overuse of caramel malt seems to be Lagunitas’ Achilles’ heel. Cocoa or carob, oat chalkiness, roasted tones and a hot alcohol buzz are the mainstay of the palate, aside from the aforementioned unpleasantries. Hairy Eyeball goes well with spicy or salty food, something to overwhelm the nuances of its flavor. As a stand alone, it is underwhelming.

M – Hot and relatively skinny. But not like a chick. In fact, the exact opposite.

D – I like either the appearance or the name of the beer most; the rest of the beer is so-so.

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Hairy Eyeball Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 2,366 ratings.