Hairy Eyeball Ale - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Hairy Eyeball AleHairy Eyeball Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

2,429 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Hairy Eyeball Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,429 | Reviews: 951
Photo of skotster13
4.61/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hopefully I am one of the first to sample the 2007 release. Got an insider friend to hook me up with two cases today...one day before it hits the shelves. This year's release is toned down, so it seems...though it has all the trademarks of great vintages past.
Serv. type: Bottle (6-pk)~~~
APPEARANCE~~~
It appears lighter than in years past, but retains its darkest day of winter look in the mug. A beautiful near-opaqueness...light is visible somewhere in the distance...reminds me of a North Coast Old Stock, if you will...though more resistant to light
SMELL~~~
It is reminiscent of a barley-wine, though retaining characteristics all its own, frolicky, hinting of deeply roasted malts that stop short of being aggressive...hops may be involved, but I don't recognize them.
TASTE~~~
The taste this year is a bit lighter on the pallate, though just as lovely. All the character is there, yet not quite as aggressive as in two years past. This release is the most quaffable by far...evidence being the 8 12oz btls I have quaffed thus far tonight.
MOUTHFEEL~~~
It goes down like cumulo-nimbus clouds...comparatively light in body, but with a solid alcohol punch...the most balanced of all offerings thus far.
DRINKABILITY~~~
Ridiculously drinkable!!! Offer this to your lager drinkers\ as an alternative to being complacent and true beer lovers will stand up and be noticed!!!
A true testament to Petaluma's best...once again a feat to be reckoned with!!!!

Photo of apintofknowledge
4.6/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a deep dark ruby-brown with a thin tan head. The aroma is very rich... with raisins and chocolate coming through... come to think of it, it smells like rasinettes, only with more fruit, and a little spice too. (OK, a year ago I would have called someone insane for saying their beer smelled like a raisinette... guess I'm now insane!)

The taste immediately strikes me as rich, big, bold and complex... it's almost overwhelming. There's this big plump raisin and cherry sweetness that goes into a chocolatey middle, finishing with an earthy charred and roasted finish that's initially a bit too bitter but mellows completely as the beer warms in my goblet. There's a port-like quality to this beer, and it's truly ment to be sipped, savored and enjoyed like a port.

A low carbonation goes just perfect with the syrupy thickness. As I drink, I notice a slight diacetyl (butterscotch) flavor, but in this case it melds very well with the rest of the flavors in this beer.

The label says "Beer Speaks. People Mumble." and this beer certainly speaks to me. Truly a unique, complex and wonderful beer well worth seeking out!

Photo of Bizz88
4.6/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beauty pours a dark mahogany with an initial two finger tan head, finishing off with a nice sticky lacing the whole glass. Has a sweet toasted malt and molasses on the tongue. Light on the carbonation with a medium/heavy body. If I lived in Petaluma,CA there would be not a taste for everyone else. If you can't get it, road trip it!!!

Photo of djchrismac
4.6/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Not sure what an outlier is or why it was detected. I have to justify my rating with a review. So here's the review...this beer rocked. Period.

Photo of Lard_City
4.59/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful Amber/red color. Fruity nose. Hoppy and sweet. A cross between an IPA and a stout. Quite an experience. Try it.

Photo of BeerAngel
4.57/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours a beautiful clear yet dark mahogany color with a massive tan head that lingers for quite some time. The blended scent of a light fruit, butter, roasted chocolate malt, and hops are combined superbly! The taste is a well balanced complex mix of roasted chocolate malt, light raison sweetness, just the right amout of hops. This is a medium bodied brew that finishes lightly sweet. This is a VERY good beer! The only thing that sort of slows me down drinking this one is it's richness. Almost like eating extremely rich fudge...it's delicious, but not too much.

Notes: So far this is by far my favorite brew from Lagunitas. It's smooth rich complex character is like a meal in a bottle. I will definitely have this brew again.

Photo of adamette
4.57/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Live review. Poured from a 2009 bottle into my Sierra Nevada Anniversary Ale glass. I did not observe a freshness date if there was one.

A Great light brown generous 3 inch head over a mohogany translucent body with visible carbonation rising up. Really great look.

S Sweet malt with the outline of hops. The hops are well presented as a frame for this beer's smell. The smell cannot be improved. Inviting and complex, the alcohol can be smelled as well.

T Divine. Malt predominates as it is mostly sweet but that frame of hops detected in the smell is picked up (appropriately secondary to the malt and barley) in the taste. Really great rounded, balanced beer.

M A big beer with 8.7% ABV (according to the label on my 12 oz. bottle anyway) and big tastes of malt with the secondary hops.

D I would likely drink only 2 or 3 but I savor every last drop of this one.

Notes: This is the one and only time that I bought a case of any beer since I really started getting into finding and rating a lot of different beers. I did so since last year I was so impressed with this one and I went back to the same store (World Wines and Liquor in Mentor) to discover that it is a seasonal. I was not going to let that happen again. Also it was an early (not the first) craft beer that really turned me on to the scene. Really though, this is a great beer!

Photo of dmgeng
4.56/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I love Lagunitas and I've been on a Strong Ale kick so this was a win-win for me.

A - Ruby, brown color that is quite striking. Clear with a coarse white head and nice lacing.

S - A very rich character with malt, toffee, some hops, and some dark fruit present. This is a very complex aroma with some alcohol and caramel in the background. It has a traditional ESB, fruity yeast character but to the next level.

T - Matching the smells, the flavor is even more complex with tons of depth. I sense an american brown but with more hops, no chocolate character, and a strong toasted sugar flavor. The fruity yeast and hops are more predominant on the tongue with the malty, grainy, and toffee flavors mixing well together. There is a bitterness but it is in no way dominant and only lends a compliment to the rich malt character.

M - Full mouth-feel with light carbonation. It's lightly syrupy but isn't cloying with some residual bitterness and you can feel that it's alcohol level and attenuation are spot on to make this beer a winner.

Overall, a really delicious beer and definitely the best non-oaked strong ale I've had. This beer is a perfect winter warmer without too much palate punching but enough flavor to keep me admiring the glass. If you find this beer and like a robust strong ale this is a must try.

Glass- Imperial Pint

Photo of rkhaze
4.53/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured a ruby/amber with a big creamy, condensed tan head. Left great lace. Smells of malt, caramel a bit of fruit and spicy/citrusy hops.
Rich sweet malt flavor with dark brown sugar, fruit, baking spices and hints of nuts and creamy chocolate. Excellent balance with the citrusy/resinous hop profile Kinda reminded me a little of Deschutes Jubelale.
Medium to full bodied with a nice thick, rich and creamy mouthfeel. Great carbonation to lighten it up a little. The great balance and hiding of alcohol make this exceptionally drinkable. This goes down scary easy for an 8.8% brew.

Photo of EnojysAnyBeer
4.53/5  rDev +18%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Very dark, yet transparent. Garnet-red when held up to the light. Light brown at a glance. The head retains in a splotchy pattern and leaves bubbly sheets of lacing

S- Sweet, mellow bourbon essence created by vanilla and caramel fumes. Savory aromas of sweet potatoes and pumpernickel rye bread

T- The flavor is a masterpiece. It brings out the greatest aspects of beer and leaves all the rest lurking in the shadows. Too much for words. See for yourself with a sip. Would be a 5, but could use a darker roast profile.

M- Smooth and sticky with a slick, refreshing quality

D- I don't know what this beer is, but it works fine as a nightcap

Photo of greentam2
4.53/5  rDev +18%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A great darker, but not too dark ale, with a very clean taste, and notes of chocolate and cloves in the aftertaste. Fresh, but with some profound depth to the mid-taste, this beer is clearly crafted to be enjoyed by beer connoisseur. Would drink this anytime!

Photo of Scott4_
4.52/5  rDev +17.7%
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.

Photo of scottoale
4.52/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The Hairy EYEBALL Ale label reads: Hear's Lookin' Atcha' ! LOL....and has the O.G.1.090 and an I.B.U. 56.7 as well as Alc 9% by Vol. Crack open and pour a DARK copper mahogany ale with hues of burgundy and a creamy tan colored, frothy two finger head that has incredible lacing...Yum!

The smell is even better with a malty caramel nose at first wiff. Deep rich, sweet smelling caramel malt with virtually no scent of detectable hops, kind of strange but it smells delicious.

The taste is even more so than the smell, it's got a balanced flavor of complexity, It starts sweet and malty just tantilizing your taste buds then just pans out with a warm smooth tasty (not bitter or sweet) finish. Gotta have more, I really, really like this stuff and normally I crave hops. The hops here are subtle, but they are definetly doing what they are supposed to do. With an I.B.U. of 56.7, you'ld expect a bit of hop bite, but not so.

It has a full body that fills the mouth and tingles a bit on the tongue. It's smooth, creamy and delicious and warming down to your tummy.

Being a stong ale drinker I find this to be a much too drinkable beer. This beer suits it's style to a "T", I don't think it gets much better than this...honestly. Drink with care, and ENJOY!

Photo of pjwilson
4.52/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

appearance: bright amber red color, very deep dark. Nice head

smell: smooth gingerbread malty smell, nice caramel. yeah, smells like cookies, for real.

taste: great, great beer. There is little to no hop flavor, but huge hop bitterness, in a good way. Most of the actual flavor comes from chocolatly tasting malts, more smooth malts with a puckering bitterness. Yet, down in a straight forward easy to comprehed way. I was gonna cellar this but why? I got the last 6 in sac so they told me and it won't last long...
edit: yeah, taste's like plums, figs, candy. Just a fantastic beer, unique and can't get enough of this stuff

mouthfeel: unbeatable quality for a beer of this strength, great mix of thick and thin. fuckin' great sipping beer, you know it's 9 percent because the bottle says so, but you don't care, it's so good you just keep rockin'.

drinkability: for a beer of this strength, completely in check. This isn't like Bigfoot, where or two bottles tops feels like the limit. This stuff is highly drinkable, only the bitterness hold you back....but it's so balanced it just works right.

I highly recomend this beer, I;m sure it would be good in a different way with some cellaring, but I don't think I need to wait because it's so good already.

Photo of pat61
4.51/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Dark sugar nose, light fruit, molasses with some spice. Pours clear dark amber with a 1” very finely bubbled, lightly tan tinted white foam cap that leaves rich lace. The beer is clean with no particles or sediment floating in the body. A big malty palate with a malt spiciness that suggests cola and anise and yeast driven fruit flavors, primarily plum or other dark red fruit. A big bitter finish answers a malty sweet beginning. In the end, malt, yeast, hops, and alcohol come into balance. A pleasant alcohol warming on the finish hints at the amount of alcohol in the beer. The beer is big and chewy, almost oily, with a moderate carbonation.

Photo of JohnLasher92
4.51/5  rDev +17.4%
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.

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.5/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

(Served in a tulip glass)

A- This beer pours a dense but clear deep brown body with a slightly red hint in the light. There is a gentle carbonation of tiny bubbles that glide to the spongy tan head. After a moment the head sags to a thick meniscus but last for most of the beer.

S- This beer has a smooth full malty nose with a slightly dry light caramel note and a faint coffee malt hint.

T- The taste of sweet lightly toasted malt has some caramel qualities and lightly roasted notes for support. There is a brown sugar note that fades to a soft pine note in the finish.

M- This beer has a medium-full mouthfeel with a creamy texture and no real alcohol heat.

D- This beer has a nice big malt profile that is not too sweet and the alcohol is very well hidden. This makes a great sipper but it really catches up to you with the 8% ABV.

Photo of RickS95
4.5/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The pour is a relatively clearish burgundy brown color. The color of a red wine, but on the clear side. The head slowly forms and when it does, it's a glorious sight of foamy peaks. Off white in color, this thing retains for quite a while. On the sides, a lovely sticky lace.

A malt bomb. Lots of dark malts that present an almost fruity scent as it warms. A hint of brown sugar in the nose. Not much in the way of hops and despite the load of malts and high ABV, there's not much alcohol scent.

This thing packs a flavor punch. All the malts come together and provide a boatload of earthy, grainy flavors. Kind of a toast, bready flavor with a splash of dark ripe fruit and an earthy taste from the hops.

It was still a little on the cold side when I had this, but it's got a nice balance between sweet up front and bitter in the finish. Again, the alcohol is never a bully, only making a cameo in warming, lingering finish. Despite the clearish complexion, it's full bodied and a bit on the creamy side.

Overall, this is top notch. For something so high in ABV, it's exceptionally easy to drink and goes down a bit too easy giving how strong it is. I bought bombers of this for $6 a piece. I stole them.

Photo of kencarman
4.5/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is incredibly good. However, "American Strong?" Of course no such BJCP category, but even if elsewhere I would assume this would at least be more aggressive hop-wise. No: this is your good old Strong Scotch Ale with caramelization, Maris Otter and Munich-like goodness. Sweet malt dominates with complex profile malt wise and a slight bitter in the background.

No peated malt, but that that's NOT necessary for Scotch Ale.

Luxurious deep sweet malt flows over the palate seeking a home and leaving the mouth wanting more.

The alcohol is obvious, but only strong support as it licks the roof of the mouth reminding you, eh, "strong?"

Photo of Heavenisbeer
4.5/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Lagunitas mason jar. Bought at the brewery.

A: Murky plum-hued root beer. Pours a finger head, which settles to 3 cm, but what spectacular looks, lacing, and staying power do those 3 centimeters have! The frothy goodness just stays and stays and stays, smothering the sides of the glass at the same time.

S: Wow, complex. Dark cherries, grape Juicy Juice (yep, that wondrous childhood drink from a can!), vanilla, prunes, and some veggie notes as it warms. Malty and boozy. No detectable hops.

T: This is sublime. Dark fruits lead the way (cherries and grape skin), then I get a jab of bitter chocolate (no where in the nose), some buttery flashes, and then some light wet hops. The alcohol blends amazingly well and adds a lot to the flavor profile. A bittersweet malt finish.

M: The Eyeball has one of the best feels I've ever experienced. I wish every beer had such an interesting and balanced MF. Thick and coating and creamy and warm, yet highly drinkable, with a perfect amount of muted carbonation.

Photo of Coni
4.5/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very yummy but after two pints I looked up the ABV and decided to stop as I was the driver!!! Had a Great time dancing and no hangover!!!!

Photo of Morris729
4.5/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Story on the side of the bottle reads as follows:
“Laying there, starring 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, flat, redolent, Hairy Eyeball on the nightstand. Yes – there is a God.”

Pours a very dark copper color with a thick and creamy tan colored head that fades into a heavy and sticky lace. Nose is sweet caramel and molasses with some milder notes of pine and fresh citrus. Medium to heavy in body with many layers of flavor. Taste is sweet roasted malts at first quickly followed by other sweet notes of gingerbread cookies, dark caramel, spice, and a touch of fruit. More bitter flavors of pine resins and grapefruit rind then begin to take over setting up a bitter finish of raw hop leaf and a hint of citrus. The hop oils create a slick feel in the mouth throughout, and the alcohol begins to become more apparent as the beer warms. A great beer with a great name!

Photo of IntriqKen
4.49/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a black-amber with a nice white 2 one finger head that melts quickly to a beautiful lace which stays with the drink all of the way.
Aroma is sweet raisins...very much raisins with a little bit of chocolate.
Taste is as it smells but oh, so much more so. Definately raisins...definately chocolate....alcohol taste....nice bitterness follows. Really a nice balance for such a strong brew.
Mouthfeel is creamy but a little thin...I think because of the strong presence of alcohol.
Aftertaste of bitter chocolate, toasted malts, and alcohol.
This is really a very flavorful strong American ale.
Once a night is enough, but every night would be wonderful. ;-)
***
I have revisited this brew many times since my first review. It is now a year later and I love it more than ever.
Nothing has changed from my review with the exception of I might be discovering more and appreciating more.
Good stuff.

Photo of Kuaff
4.49/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

The Hairy Eyeball... in my snifter, cellar temperature.

This one has a two-finger off-white head and a clear, beautiful burgundy body.

It smells like tart dark fruits. Prunes and cherries, maybe. Also a subtle mango or pineapple thing going on. There might be a bit of slightly citric, earthy hops buried in the aroma, and it smells just a little like brandy. A hint of molasses? It's kind of hard for me to describe in full, but... it smells good. That's what matters.

The taste is quite fruity. The dark fruits - those same prunes and cherries - hit first. I get this earthy, hoppy breadiness moving toward the finish, but the aftertaste eventually turns to a dry, moderately bitter hoppiness with accents of brighter fruits. It makes me think of orange peel and... cranberries, believe it or not. It's that kind of bright, zesty, but drying fruitiness.

This stuff has a great feel to it. It's thick and syrupy! And the understated carbonation feels perfect for it.

While on the surface this beer seems to be malt-forward, it has an unmistakable Lagunitas-style hoppiness that all the brewery's beers seem to be endowed with. This is a complex, unique, and delicious amalgamation of hoppiness and maltiness. It's like some twisted cross between a Belgian strong dark ale, an American barleywine, and a double ipa. Outstanding.

Photo of Phat_Borracho
4.48/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Not bad will buy again

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