Hairy Eyeball Ale - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Hairy Eyeball AleHairy Eyeball Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

2,429 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,429
Reviews: 951
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 11.46%
Wants: 59
Gots: 341 | 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: 2,429 | Reviews: 951
Photo of bashiba
2.98/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a nice dark reddish copper color with an inch of creamy tan head that showed nice retention and a small amount of lacing.

Smell was dominated by alcohol, dark malts, and sour cherries.

Taste is a strange mixture of bitter nutty malts, dark sour cherries, and a strong hot alcohol taste. Has a tinny metalic bitterness to it.

Mouthfeel is hot and dry with a cloying quality to it.

Overall not great, I was expecting more as this replaced the very good brown shugga in the seasonal line up from Lagunitas.

Photo of Gavage
3.72/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: clear bronze and mahogony red color. Thick and fluffy 3"+ head lasts forever which was surprising for a higher alcohol beer. Some decent lacing developed.

Smell: caramels and chocolates are mild and soft on the nose.

Taste: dark chocolate, caramel candy, hints of molassess and prunes, alcohol, and a strong bitterness make up a hearty and warming ale.

Mouthfeel: lightly crisp and dry throughout. Long aftertaste as the flavors just last on your tastebuds. Medium bodied.

Drinkability: warming alcohol and hearty flavors make this a slower sipping beer which is great on a cold winter evening. Very tasty and worth picking this one up.

Photo of indy169
4.35/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this one on tap at a local watering hole and it very much impressed me. Cloudy and rich dark amber color, this is a quite impressive looking beer. Upon smelling this beer, I was again very impressed. The high alcohol content helped the smell travel. Taste was very hearty but not too heavy. This beer is a creeper, so be careful.
I highly recommend this one.

Photo of HoustonTX
3.8/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Large earthy malt and caramel in the nose. The body is a foggy ruby color with a large gray tint. Head is adequate. Smell is dominated by malt. As for the taste, I can just say it's the definition of a Strong Ale. This beer packs a punch. It will put hair on all parts of your body, and of course especially the eyeball.

Taste has a nice milk chocolaty malt flavor about it, with an excellent mouthfeel. Tootsie Roll? Yeah, let me see that Tootsie Roll. Just a large amount of malty heavenly goodness, along with some gigantic Cascade hops in the background. Nice hop sceheme, citric and floral. All while maintaing near balance with the huge malt dosage.

A damn solid American Strong Ale.

Photo of uberabr
4.03/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4.5

I've been wanting to try this for a while now...

Poured from a 12-er into a pint. Appearance is a deep blackish burgundy with bright red hues. Big 3-finger caramel head settles to about a finger, leaving some good lace behind. Smell is lagery, a tad on the bitter side but not "hoppy" per se. There are some mild hints of fruits indicative of cacade or another low alpha hop- apples, banana, and mango- all very subtle, and nothing really special. Taste is rich, silky and buttery. Deep caramel and
molasses play off a complex array of subtle bitter notes and delicate fruity malts, along with roasted oats, barley, and some citrusy booze twang. Mouthfeel is decent but too oily, leaving you with a sticky tongue. Ironically, this adds to the already stellar drinkability.

My only real complaint is the oily mouthfeel on the tongue, but the taste and drinkability more than compensate. Also, the taste seems to come together a lot as it warms, so give it time. Overall a pretty tasty brew. I'de really like to try it on tap.

Photo of BeerNinja007
3.93/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into my beer mug.

A: Pours a dark brown which reveals a mahoganny hue when held to the light. Compact tan head of small bubbles, 1 finger high leaves thick lacing as the glass is swirled.

S: Sweet, candy-like aroma up front. First impression: cotton candy. After that, caramel is readily apparent, as is a hint of coffee.

T: Dark roasted malts, a little molassas, sharply bitter hops in the finish. The hops in this reminds me of Sierra Nevada's Bigfoot Barleywine. No sign of the candy-like sweetness from the aroma, not nearly as sweet as I suspected it would be.

M: Relatively thick and pleasing, leaves a slick feeling on the tongue. Carbonation is just a tad the light side, but not bad.

D: Hearty, full-bodied, filling.

Conclusion: A good brew, I certainly wouldn't turn it down if it was offered to me. Not amazing enough that I'll make it one of my regulars though. But I will remember it and may get it again.

Photo of jwc215
4.25/5  rDev +10.7%
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.

Photo of tgbljb
4.35/5  rDev +13.3%
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.

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.

Photo of cheers2beers
4.25/5  rDev +10.7%
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.


Photo of oberon
4.22/5  rDev +9.9%
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!

Photo of bigdeuce
4.01/5  rDev +4.4%
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.

Photo of bruachan
3.86/5  rDev +0.5%
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

Photo of ttfreek
3.32/5  rDev -13.5%
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.

Photo of shirfan
3.08/5  rDev -19.8%
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.

Photo of Bierguy5
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%
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.

Photo of RonfromJersey
4/5  rDev +4.2%
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.

Photo of travelfrog
4.13/5  rDev +7.6%
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.

Photo of mcallister
4.45/5  rDev +15.9%
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.

Photo of williamherbert
3.7/5  rDev -3.6%
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.

Photo of Georgiabeer
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%
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.

Photo of jcdiflorio
4.32/5  rDev +12.5%
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.

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.3/5  rDev +12%
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.

Photo of rajendra82
4.14/5  rDev +7.8%
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.

Photo of mrasskicktastic
3.49/5  rDev -9.1%
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.

Hairy Eyeball Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 2,429 ratings.