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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

917 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 917
Hads: 2,458
Avg: 3.86
pDev: 18.65%
Wants: 63
Gots: 353 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 917 | Hads: 2,458
Photo of Redrover
3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

I drank this one while watching some great bowl games on New Year's Day.

Poured into my SA perfect pint glass, the beer is a chill hazed dark copper with a sticky beige head.

It has an aroma of sweet malts and a bit of toffee.

This is a malt forward beer, it is sweeter than I expected with caramel, toffee and grain notes. There is also a bit of alcohol heat. I wonder if I should age my other bomber a bit to see if it mellows out. Hops add a bit of balance and a pine note. .

The mouth is slick and substantial. It's a pretty big beer that is best to savor.

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Photo of snoopy5023
4.41/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

lagunitas hairy eyeball: great tasting, would not hurt to buy and let sit for a year or two to become very potent. Has a brownish/redish hue. Nice head that dies down pretty moderately. Taste very bourbon like and you can smell it. It taste more than a 9.4 ABV beer. As stated above, would not let this sit no more than 1 or two years, actually, a year and half. Overall still great, would buy another one.

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Photo of JLSIV
3.84/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice head and lacing, nice red brown color

Aroma is mostly malt with a hint of caramel

Taste was sweeter and maltier than I expected

Mouthfeel was full with a little chew at the end. Definite warmth and the alcohol at the back.

Overall I liked it and prefer it over Arrogant Bastard

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Photo of Tsar_Riga
3.78/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A - Dark copper, transparent, with a light tan head that stacks high and fades slow. Massive lacing coats the glass with small bubbles.

S - Slight hint of pine, caramel malts, light hint of grass and floral hops.

T - Mostly caramel malts and pine hops. The middle is more malty sweetness, floral elements, and a close that is more bitter that fades out slowly.

M - Slick and crunchy, with drying in the close and a slight methol style tingle.

O - I have an idea of what they are aiming for, but I think they need better integration. The sweetness upfront and the bitterness in the back both come on a bit strong. It makes for a good, but not a great beer.

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Photo of mflkb4
4.31/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Just a big ol' fruitcake, rich with big notes of ripe figs, burned banana peels and malts. Beautiful ruby colored with a not big but thick and creamy head.

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Photo of HamdenHector
4.02/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: crystal clear; amber with a reddish tinge; 1 finger khaki head that receded slowly to a thin cap; light lacing that didn't last;

S: a little restrained; caramel, brown sugar, earthy hops, a little alcohol;

T: overwhelmingly malty; sweet, caramel; no roasted flavor; a little boozy; mild bitterness on the finish;

M: medium bodied - a little syrupy; moderate carbonation;

O: I'm so used to drinking Lagunitas's hop forward beers that something like this catches me by surprise; nice complex flavors and aromas;

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Photo of Southerndiscomfort
4.82/5  rDev +24.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Another great beer from a top notch brewery. Malt forward but has hops and drinkable as fuck. Lagunitas never rips you off on price for high grav brews.

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Photo of JuicesFlowing
4.09/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a balloon glass.

Look: Really dark mahogany body with a ruby hue in the light. A cream colored head recedes to a wisp. Light spots of lacing remain.

Aroma: Brown sugar, oak or other wood notes, molasses.

Taste: Really smooth sweet molasses and brown sugar, lots of malt, a spiciness like cinnamon, faint bourbon.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, maybe kind of sticky.

Overall: Excellent and under $4 for a bomber. This has a lot of flavor and the alcohol is fairly well hidden. Nice sipper.

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Photo of blackcompg
4.68/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Appearance - Poured a quick 3 fingers of light mocha colored foam, body is a transparent and brilliant deep copper amber, nice gently carb rises consistently in the body, lacing is unbelievable, leaving thick rings after each quaff.

Smell - Dark fruits of fig and plum, candied cherry, peach marmalade, rich dark toffee, and freshly baked fruit/rum cake.

Taste - Starts with rich dark fruits of cooked rope plums and figs coated in brown sugar, candied cherries soaked in alcohol join with a flavor very much like amaretto. There is a rich slightly roasted malt and warm dark toffee backbone supporting all of this. Then near the end of the quaff the sweetness falls off just enough to allow some faint herbal hop notes and caramel coated citrus piths to develop, along with some candy coated peach pit.

Mouthfeel - There is a nice weight here, and this winter ale is on the heavier side of medium and almost mouth coating, but is kept in check with some light carb and the perfect amount of warming alcohol. The carb is creamy smooth and struggles to leave a few edges along the sides of the tongue. Perfect for a strong winter ale on a winter night.

Overall - This is what I think of for a winter ale - the flavors are perfect, bold, complex and balanced. Such an excellent and potent example of the style. I highly recommend that you get a few bottles of this and share with family and friends during the holidays. Perfection. Two thumbs way up, thank you Lagunitas.

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Photo of KYGunner
4/5  rDev +3.6%

As a Strong Ale it seems appropriate that it sets up with a strong bold presence of deep amber and a dense foamy cap. The nose is full with malt, fig, maple, caraway, barley, booze, purple grapes and caramel.

The flavor comes out well with warmth with caramel malt, dark fruit, figs, honey, hoppy bitterness, anise, booziness, raisin, barley graininess, light toast and maple.

This just solidifies my love for Lagunitas.

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Photo of superspak
4.2/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle into snifter, bottled on 11/7/2013. Pours fairly crystal clear deep reddish brown color with a 1-2 finger dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of big caramel, brown sugar, molasses, toffee, toast, brown bread, nuttiness, raisin, plum, fig, light chocolate, herbal, and roast/toasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/bready malt, dark fruit, and light-moderate earthy hop notes; with good strength. Taste of big caramel, brown sugar, molasses, toffee, toast, brown bread, nuttiness, raisin, plum, fig, light chocolate, herbal, and roast/toasted earthiness. Fair amount of earthy hop/roast bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, brown sugar, molasses, toffee, toast, brown bread, nuttiness, raisin, plum, fig, light chocolate, and herbal/toasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready malt, dark fruits, and light-moderate earthy hop flavors; with a great malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and fairly full bodied; with a smooth, moderately creamy, and lightly slick/sticky mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a light warming present after the finish. Overall this is an awesome American strong ale style! All around great robustness, complexity, and balance of dark/bready malts, dark fruits, and light-moderate earthy hop flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the big ABV. A highly enjoyable offering.

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Photo of T1i1m1
4.31/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This one is growing on me. At first try I didn't like it. Too sweet. I've had it a few times now and it's got a great malt profile and has plenty of hop to break up the malt flavor. I'm a fan.

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Photo of Wumsphire
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a stemless wine glass. Sweet, malty and slightly bitter hop beer. A cross between a Scotch Ale and Winter Warmer if I were to categorize.

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Photo of barczar
3.84/5  rDev -0.5%

Aroma is full of caramel malt and floral hops, with booze and hints of citrus. Toasted, nutty notes pale in comparison to the sweetness. Fruity specialty malt and dark notes of raisin and fig are reminiscent of brandy. Flavor reveals a fairly sweet caramel malt backbone, which begins with contrasting vinous notes and finishes exceedingly bitter. As it warms, notes of chocolate and lightly roasted malt add complexity, along with nutmeg and ginger in the aftertaste. Very interesting brew, but lacks a bit in depth of malt character.

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Photo of MostlyNorwegian
4.13/5  rDev +7%

Yeast and malt jump out in the nose of this, the 2014 edition of Hairy Eyeball. That yeastiness follows through with a slight bit of hops riding backseat. Not much head but as it fades into a partly cloudy condition with faint lacing on the side, it will linger and give you pretty formations to grok over. Amber to red appearance with a sort of plum to dark cherry nearly currant kind of fruitiness that perks up as your mouth gets over the alcohol burn and residing mid level bitterness. Long for pucker that does not really recede. This is a sipper of a beer that would probably handle getting some barrel treatment eerily well and turn that 9.X abv up a notch and fill in with staves of goodness. This would probably cellar like a beast as well and give you a really nice barleywine towards the first cold snap of 2015.

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Photo of 8BaconBits
3/5  rDev -22.3%

I do not like dark beers (and I know, this isn't even that dark!), so this was a bit different for me. Very flavorful, very malty. I probably won't get it again, but I wouldn't be unhappy if it was served to me.

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Photo of scotorum
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Cellared since purchase last March.

Poured from the 22 oz. bomber into a Hill Farmstead stemmed tulip.

a: Clear ruby with a finger thick offwhite head which receded to patchy surface foam and slight spotty lacing.

s: Dark ripe fruit.

t: Roasted malt and dark ripe fruit up front, followed by a significant hop bite which lingered at the back sides of the mouth. Slightly bitter finish. No alcohol throat burn at first but the 8.5 ABV becomes more noticeable.

m: Light to medium, good body, loads of carbonation tingle.

o: A powerful-tasting strong ale with barleywine-like fruitiness, very good "winter warmer."

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Photo of RexBanner
4.65/5  rDev +20.5%

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a pint glass.
Appearance: Dark crimson in color. Clear, no sediments. Pillowy cream colored head which lasted throughout the session. Nice lacing.

Aroma: Malty, fruity, hoppy. It almost smells like those cans of mixed fruit saturated in a bottle of Malta.

Taste: Malt sweetness up front followed by a pleasant bitterness that prevents this from being just another run of the mill malt bomb. Faint fruit taste is present. Hard to make out though, maybe peach? Caramel and molasses or maybe maple syrup is present also. A boozy heat permeates the mouth with every sip, especially when the beer reaches room temperature. The bitter aftertaste is really pleasant for this beer.

Mouthfeel: Light, not heavy at all. Slight carbonation in the beginning but it fades very quick. Goes down easy, especially for an 8+ brew.

This is a good winter warmer. Not the best but for a 22 oz bottle it'll surely get the job done. It has a good balance of sweetness and bitterness. It's almost like a cross between a dunkel and a bitter IPA.

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Photo of woodychandler
3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I am continuing with my bottle purge and when a friend said that he wanted to come over and say goodbye before heading off to graduate school at U of FL, I decided to break out something big and hairy.

From the bottle: "Perihelial Release"; "Here's Lookin' Atcha!"; "Lagunitas Brewing Company wish you and yours all the best as together we enter the new year. Thanks for your trust and support and we'll keep an eye out for you!"; "91,400,000 miles"; "Laying there, starting up at the ceiling, head pounding last night was a dim recollection. How did he get home? Was he alone? Looking to the left and right, the answer was yes, maybe. His head was full of 'rag water, bitters and blue ruin'. His teeth felt like he'd been chewing aluminum and his breath smelled like a burning tractor tire. There was a wrenching knot somewhere between his liver and east St. Louis and he couldn't be sure whether or not he'd wet himself. A yellow sine wave rang in his ears so loud it made his teeth itch and he was sure that if he touched his skin anywhere it would induce a rhythmic retching jag. Even in the face of all that, he found himself smiling at the realization that today represented the fresh breast of a new year - an undiscovered country - and also that there was still one warm, half-full, half-flat redolent Hairy Eyeball on the nightstand. Yes - there is a God. Call us sometime! 1.707.769.4495. Cheers!"

My pour produced a brief finger of light-tan head that quickly fell to wisps. Nose was kind of boozy with a strong dried dark fruitiness, like prunes, raisins and dates. Color was a Coppery-Brown (SRM = > 17, < 22) with NE-quality clarity. Mouthfeel was medium. The first thing that I noticed after taking a sip was the intense fusel alcohol heat. The second thing was the extreme fruitiness and maltiness that came right behind it, reminiscent of a holiday fruitcake. Finish was warm, not outright hot, and incredibly fruity.

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Photo of Tuck_leepulin
4.22/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

22oz bomber poured into a tulip glass.

Appearance: Pours a deep ruby with 1 finger of white head

Smell: Caramel and toffee malt notes

Taste: Rustic and malt forward with some bitterness and alcohol warmth in the finish

Mouthfeel: Full and creamy with a malty finish

Overall: Very malt-forward for lagunitas. There is some complexity and with a full body this beer is quite drinkable. A great beer for the malt-heads out there.

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Photo of JohnLasher92
4.51/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served from 20 or so oz. bottle into large beer glass which was frozen. Pours a great head, medium lacing. Appearance is very dark (the darker the better).. The first sip packs a wallop - strong alcohol content paired with a rich, creamy taste that keeps you sipping. There is a subtle hoppy background. Delicious to the last bubbly drop. So far this is my favorite beer of the few I've had. I would drink it over and over again. Very well done from Lagunitas. Overall, I would highly recommend this brew to anyone who enjoys the darker variety.

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Photo of IronLover
4.15/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Deep garnett in color with good clarity. Poured with a short, dense, off-white foam that quickly dissipated. Sweet malt, brown sugar, raisin and fig aromas with boozy notes in the background. Full bodied with tangy, assertive carbonation through the middle and a semi-dry finish. Sweet bready malt, dark fruit, fig and raisin flavors up front. Tangy, lightly spicy hop bitterness through the middle. Definitive booziness toward the end as well. Finished with a semi-dry feel and lingering bready malt and  herbal hop bitterness. This was excellent and, to me, drank a lot like an ale version of a doppelbock.

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Photo of Scott4_
4.52/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

I wish this wast not a seasonal beer! I really like this beer! I think it is barrel age
or bootle conditioned, it is very smooth. I am really picky about beer. I live in Europe and
enjoy dark beer. I have to wait til next year to buy some more. classic winter beer.

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Photo of ONUMello
3.83/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

22oz bottle poured into a pint glass
A: Amber/brown color with a one-finger head that settles fairly quickly
S: I agree completely with Phil below - brown sugar, figs, caramel and cherry
T: Caramel, fig, a fair amount of malt notes, not much in the hops department
M: Full-bodied, sweet, a touch boozy
O: Average for the style, no flaws but not particularly memorable

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Photo of keithmurray
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance - clear crimson/ruby red color with off white head

Smell - pine, caramel, honey, molasses

Taste - this tastes similar to Brown Shugga, but a bit more refined, brown sugar, pine, molasses, caramel, honey

Mouthfeel - full bodied, full carbonation, sticky, sweet upfront, bitterness in the finish

Overall - this is a good beer from Lagunitas. This is a more refined Brown Shugga with less sweetness and is less aggressively hopped. I'd personally love to see this available in 6 paks

Price Point - $4.99/22 oz bottle

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Hairy Eyeball Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 917 ratings.