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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

945 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 945
Hads: 2,590
Avg: 3.86
pDev: 18.91%
Wants: 76
Gots: 424 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
Lagunitas Brewing Company
California, United States | website

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: 945 | Hads: 2,590
Photo of jwc215
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Ours ruby orangish brown - similar to deep cranberry with a thin head that becomes a patch, but returns sith a gentle swirl of the glass.

The smell is of caramel, soft dark fruits and an earthy dough.

The taste is malty - caramelish, sweet grains, and a touch of brown sugar. It is soon enhanced/balanced by a mix of dark and tropical fruits. Sharp spiciness comes from a variety of wintry spices - nutmeg, clove, cinnamon(?). An underlying doughiness ties it together. Spices and hops strong enough to add to balance and flavor, while leaving it with an overall malty character. This is complex and rich - the flavor interact well. Alcohol is fairly well covered for abv - just enough to add a soothing warmth. Rich finish. Flavor, especially maltiness, lingers for a long time.

It's full bodied and silky smooth. Has a creaminess about it with a mellowed alcohol dryness.

This is a wonderful winter brew. Very flavorful. A nice one to enjoy in the winter. Be careful though, the alcohol level is about 9%, though it seems a bit less.

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Photo of tgbljb
4.35/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a deep amber color with moderate off-white puffy head. Little retention.
Smell is very strong on malt with caramel, toffee, and molasses notes detected. Very Tantalizing.
Taste also shows a strong malt character, with loads of dark fruit also evident. (plums, raisins, dates) . The caramel and toffee in the nose are also in the taste. Very nice.
Very full mouthfeel, with a long lasting richness and creaminess, and an enjoyable taste retention.
Very easy, almost too easy, to drink for abeer of the alcohol content.
Truly an excellent beer. Very fitting for review #1100.

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Photo of abcsofbeer
3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a stubby 12 oz bottle no bottled on date. The appearance is a nice ruby amber color with dark shading in the corners. It is topped by a two finger lite brown head that really sticks around a while. The aroma is sweet cherries and malts.

The taste is nicely hopped with some accompanying bitterness and medium malted flavors. There is some nice fruitiness and ginger spice along with some slight alcohol flavorings. This is a good one that I would gladly drink again.

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Photo of cheers2beers
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: This beer pours a mahogany brown hue. The tanned pillowy head stacks up to a nice two finger height and maintained a good head retention as well. A few columns of beading can be found inside and no laceing to speak of.

Smell: The aromas of sweet malts are very fragrant. This has some fruity aromas with some citrus and floral hops. Light alcohol in the nose. Hints of chocolate can be found as well.

Taste: The flavors consist of a citrus bitterness, roasted malts, caramels galore and the alcohol seems to be well masked for an 8.8%.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a high amount of carbonation. Creamy, smooth with an almost dry finish.

Drinkability: This is another good beer produced by Lagunitas. If you haven't had this yet, I say go get it. It is worth the trouble.


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Photo of oberon
4.22/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a nonic a deep ruby color with a dark brownish tint a quick to form one finger slight off white head atop,great balance and complexity in the nose deep brown sugar and alcohol dipped dark fruit intertwined with spicey/grassy hop really trying to hold up to the malt...advantage malt but a close call.Big and warming with great flavor and balance gummy,juicy malt with that brown sugar and raisin-like quality finishing resiny and piney inducing great hop burps.I love these kind of big American brews insanely balanced,big and bold with great complexity,Lagunitas rocks!

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Photo of bigdeuce
4.01/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I like this one, without a doubt. Needs to be available all year round. Pours an opaque reddish color. Almost black at top fading to red. Nice looking. Doesn't smell like much, only drawback. Nice smooth, silky taste for a strong ale. High hops kick in at end but they simmer quickly, making it easy to drink. Dangerously drinkable, as I am drinking it as quickly as a California common! Highly complex brew with plummy taste and a great pleasure to drink.

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Photo of bruachan
3.86/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

the color is a deep mahogany--mostly brown. the aroma is ubiquitous; i don't need to get my nose too close to pick up the great smells. sweet crystal and victory or biscuit. US hops waft in, too

the hops offer more to the flavor than aroma. a sharp tingly bitterness punches fairly far forward and sits on the tongue. big IBUs. it seems dry, though not thin. in my eyes the malt element can't keep up with the hops. i can't tell if it's weak or the hops are just overdone. there are some nice flavors but i wish i could get some more of these

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Photo of ttfreek
3.32/5  rDev -14%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Semi-dark beer with a red tinge. Small head. Goes down smooth, with the taste of malts and a slight fruity aftertaste...maybe cherry? It is also sweet at first, but finishes with a bite. Surupy aroma as well. Strange beer, but in the end, nothing too fantastic or surprising. The 9% ABV is hidden well.

A peculiar aftertaste leaves the mouth dry. Not a bad beer, but i am not sure i would go out of my way for it.

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Photo of shirfan
3.08/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Dark but clear garnet with a thin layer of sticky tan foam.

Soft aroma, only traces of brown sugar and dark malt come through.

Taste is also mild for a big beer. A caramelized malt flavor leads the way, giving in to a very finely carbonated mouthfeel with some light, leafy bitterness. Alcohol warms at the end without getting "hot".

This is an odd brew, in some leftfield purgatory between porter and pale ale, with an overly large ABV to be sessionable.

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Photo of Bierguy5
3.83/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Boston's Bistro. Dark mahogany with ruby highlights. Thick tan head holds together very well. Nice patchwork of lace left on the side of the glass. Citrusy, toffee, and dark candy fruit in the aroma. A bit of floral hops as well. Rich toffee, sugary, a bit syrupy, along with fruity flavors. Nice amount of flavors here. Good amount of citrusy bitterness. Pretty well balanced. Finishes a bit dry. Not may favorite from Lagunitas, but good.

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Photo of RonfromJersey
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark red, approaching brown, body. Two fingers of dentable tan foam.

Sweet aroma, candied sugar cookies, a wee bit of alcohol.

Taste begins extra sweet, not just caramelly, put with a dusting of pixie stick. Not cloying though. Dark fruits washed in a light syrup. Enough hops to achieve some balance. Warming "fire in the belly".

Thick mouthfeel. Good drinkability, but two at a time might be a limit.

Good winter warmer, don't be put off by the name.

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Photo of travelfrog
4.13/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I saw this title, and had to give it a try on tap. If I have symptoms tomorrow morning in keeping with the name, I'll edit this and update you. ;)

A very nice looking ale, almost black in color with a white head. The head dissipated quickly, which I suppose is not surprising for this type of ale.

You could definitely smell the alcohol in this brew. The bouquet was almost analogous to Kahlua.

Flavor was quite nice, with notes of chocolate and port wine. The finish definitely had the quality of gingerbread to it.

Mouthfeel was good. A nice, full-bodied texture, maybe a bit briny.

Drinkability was OK, but not great, with lots of acidity and sweetness to deal with. Then again, as potent as this brew is, that might not be a bad thing.

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Photo of mcallister
4.45/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The looks of this beer are different and enticing. A burnt blood orange color, very clean, with many stagnat particles about. Head is thick, 2 fingers and an odd orange cream color.

Wonderful layered, complex, sweet, fruity aromas abound. Candied peach, with grapefruit, and orange, lead way into more citrusy floral hop aromas, which are than taken over with a maple brown sugar aspect that really adds to the complexity. Caramel and toffee, with milk chocolate, and hints of fig, raisin, and other dried fruits as well.

This is one fine beer maybe may favorite by Lagunitas I've had the pleasure of sampling. One word can sum this one up "complex". There is so much going on I could go on forever with the different sensations this beer contrives. Citrusy grapefruit, hints of orange, peach, then it goes into a big maple, brown sugar, raisin, fig, various nuts, floral hop, hints of alcohol, layered malt and so on. Basically a never ending plethora of flavors.

Mouth is the only thing waining as it could be a little more round but besides that this tasty treat could satisfy my palate all night long.

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Photo of williamherbert
3.7/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a quite dark and opaque brew. Has a hint of dark, smoky red glimmering through. A healthy head with minimal lace.

Has a nice, deep, rich malt smell. Smells like a strong ale all right, but with a nice hop accent. Has the ever-so-slight hint of a cherry/berry element.

Contains a bit of that winter ale pungent sweetness. Has a minor cherry flavor, but that is balanced by a solid hop presence. (The hops come out more as it warms up.) Actually has a nice, rich sweet/bitter balance.

Medium bodied, but the flavor gives the feeling of a stronger ale. Coats the tongue in the afterglow. It's a decent, competent brew. The sweetness can be a bit overwhelming, but the bitterness and strength of the brew is a good balance. It is a one-n-done beer, though; can be just a bit much.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark ruby with a short head that dissipates somewhat quickly and leaves no lacing. The smell is slightly vegetal up front and with a sweet roll finish and a little dark spice. The taste is somewhat light and subtle. Somewhat surprising for the alcohol here and the profiles of some of their other beers. Soft notes of caramel, raisins, and other dark fruit. A slight tang of bready yeast on the finish. Light mouthfeel, and fairly low carbonation, but very smooth. Eh, not my favorite Lagunitas. Well made, but not all that interesting.

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Photo of jcdiflorio
4.32/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

served into a pub glass from a stubby brown bottle with twist-off cap.

Dark ruby red,very creamy tan head,dissapated a bit quick to a thick ring of foam around the glass

Clean smell,vinious aroma,very malty nose,sweet dark fruityness,quite roasty,a slight hint of alcohol,citrus aromas really come through as the beer warms
Very good aroma nice and complex.

Tart dark fruit tastes throughout,lots of sweet carmell flavors,chocolaty,good clean sharp citrusy bitterness. A slight hint of alcohol,very well hidden for the 8.8% The same great tastes blended together throughout the beer,a perfectly balanced beer

Medium mouthfeel feels light with all the creamyness,lots of carbination. very enjoyable beer,easy drinking start to get a bit filling. Could drink all night if it wasn't so filling.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Candied cranberry with orange slice edges. Once the final few ounces are added, the beer becomes murky caramel. There's a huge amount of yeast in suspension, with the occasional bubble plowing its way up to a great looking head. The cap is equal parts ivory and ecru and sports a finely pitted, finely bubbled surface. Enough lace sticks to keep me enthused about the overall appearance.

The nose is caramel malty, orange and pineapple fruity and spicy in the way that some Belgian beer is spicy. I don't believe an actual Belgian yeast was used, so perhaps the brewers added clove or something similar. It's different and I like it.

Hairy Eyeball Ale tastes like the beer equivalent of fruit salad. It's a veritable cornucopia of orange, lemon, grapefruit and pineapple chunks soaked in melted caramel and brown sugar syrup. I'll thrown tobacco in there as well, even though it doesn't sound very appealing in a fruit salad. While I can appreciate a minor alcohol bite, it's incredibly soft and well-integrated. That tells me the beer is well aged. I'm guessing it's two years old at least.

I'm still picking up a moderate spiciness that might be due to some amount of rye malt, or might be due to the addition of spices themselves. I'll take a wild stab and say ground clove, ginger and cinnamon. I think I read somewhere that Lagunitas considers this beer to be a Christmas ale. I'll go along with that.

The (estimated) two years in the bottle, in addition to taming the alcohol, have melded the individual members of the flavor profile very well. They've also resulted in a mouthfeel that is incredibly smooth and creamy. It needs a bit more chewiness and a few more bubbles before I'll consider bestowing greatness upon it.

I think Lagunitas is one of the most underrated, least appreciated craft breweries in the entire country. Their big beer is top-notch. Olde Gnarlywine, Brown Shugga', Cappuccino Stout and Imperial Red are all fantastic. Hairy Eyeball, as well, has both flavor and power to spare. In fact, it can stand nose to nose with some of the best American strong ales... and not blink.

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Photo of rajendra82
4.14/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another good looking arrival into Georgia from this successful brewer from California, I picked up my Hairy Eyeball in a six pack of 12 oz. bottles. As I poured the first of these into a pint glass, the beer looked rather unassuming. The body was clear, and mahogany brown; the head was small and short lived; and the lacing was sparse at best. The smell was much more enticing than the looks, as I detected honey, orange marmalade, and strawberries. There was also a noticeable spiciness from the hops as well a whiff of alcohol. The taste was even better than I had anticipated from the smell. I was expecting a sweet malt bomb; however this beer was actually quite well attenuated and balanced. There was sweetness there of course, showing up as apricots, toffee, and brown sugar, but the herbal bitter hops were quite bracing, and the overall the taste was more dry than sweet. The mouthfeel was a bit abrasive, but with some age, I think this would round out for the better. It was quite similar to the Brown Shugga, but not quite as hard hitting, which made it a much more approachable beer IMHO.

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Photo of mrasskicktastic
3.49/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Dark reddish brew with shittons of lacing left over from the sizeable which is a little quick to vanish.

S - Grassy hops, some pine in a lesser extent, faint caramel and coffee malts. A bit of weak molasses too.

T - Slightly sweet, slightly hoppy with a bit of grassy and pine hops. The after taste is a coffee with a touch of alcohol. It is very bitter, I'd say mostly a sharp citrus bitterness with some coffee and pine.

M - Smooth, very refreshing and thin.

D - Pretty good. I wouldn't mind having it again. There was something too "rugged" about it. The flavors were complex and there were a lot of them. Even though they meshed well, it seemed to lack some sort of "flavor flow" that other beers might have. I didn't mind it terribly much, but it did strike me as odd how the flavors seemed to stand indivually rather than blend.

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Photo of ArrogantB
3.58/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a dark brown with a cream-colored head. Taste was very strange, alcohol, sugary, malty, weird. I do not know what to think of this beer. I think I liked the Brown Shugga much better. Oh well, I'll put some in the cellar and see how it does next year.

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Photo of russpowell
4.08/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours brown/chestnut with 3 fingers+of rocky tan colored head. Pretty good lacing & very good head retention

S: Chocolate & malt

T: Chocolate, toasted grain & nuttyness up front. Breadyness & warming alcohol soon follow. Pralines & toffee soon show up as well. Finishes dry, warming with some pretty piney hops at the back of the throat.

MF: Medium bodied, almost chewy with quite a bit of carbonation, which detracts a little

Drink very easy for the abv, nice take on the style & worth a pint or two

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Photo of RedChrome
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A deep ruby red colored body. Half inch high light tan head stood a few minutes before shrinking. Moderate amount of carbonation can be seen slowly rising to the top. Leaves nice lace clumps.

Very sweet and bready initial aroma. This reminds me instantly of a freshly baked raisin bread. A very faint alcohol presenc blends with an equally faint floral hops oil.

Exceptional taste. A very strong plum flavor finishes with a burst of alcohol strength. A second sip shows a strong citrus flavor on the tip of the tongue. A very complex beer with a wide range of flavors.

Nice warming sensation in the back of the throat. Cabronation helps flavors shift on the tongue. Decent viscosity.

A worthy brew. This one is a great after dinner beer by itself. Such a wide range of flavors that this should appeal to anyone. Great winter release to warm the body on a cold night.

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Photo of Mebuzzard
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A dark brown pour, soapy looking tan bubbles diminish to a slight head and nice lacing.
Overall the aromas are a blend of caramel, biscuit and sweet malt. Some raisin and leather seem to poke around the bend.
Caramel and cocao present themselves first in the taste. Hops come in to give it some off-citrus and green pine. This doesn't last long, though. The alcohol kicks in at the finish and leaves a slight burn.
Nice brew. Not sure what I'd call this one, it isn't that strong in flavor, and the abv isn't all that high.

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Photo of goochpunch
2.34/5  rDev -39.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pours out a rosey purple brown body with a 1/4" head that fizzles down to a thin layer of foam. Some head clings to the glass in scant patterns. First smell I get is a bit like rotting oranges. What follows is straight up sweet, darker malts, alcohol and a bit of citrus hops. When I taste this, i basically get a barrage of sweet malt body, piney hops, bitterness (quite bitter for a 50-something IBU beer), and a finish that is medicinal in the amount of alcohol. I can pick out some flavor as the aftertaste lingers, which is a blend of chewy dried fruit and pine resin. Mouthfeel is full bodied and a bit slick. Mild carbonation. Yeah, I don't really want to drink this all that much. I remember liking this a couple years back. Kind of nauseating now.

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Photo of BeerManDan
4.67/5  rDev +21%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The color was a nice dark brown with a little tan foam and very little lace. When pouring, you could see it poured thick. The smell of roasted malts was very pleasant, along with a sweet fruity aroma. The taste was of roasted malts, caramel and coffee with a hint of fruit. Not overpowering on the alcohol. This strong ale was very very pleasant. Couldn't believe that a american strong ale like this was so tasty with out the tartness or bit of alcohol. Yum, I need more!

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Hairy Eyeball Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 945 ratings.