Hairy Eyeball Ale - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Hairy Eyeball AleHairy Eyeball Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

913 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 913
Hads: 2,435
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 10.62%
Wants: 59
Gots: 344 | 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: 913 | Hads: 2,435
Photo of utopiajane
3.35/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Pours a brilliant and fiery copper with good clarity. It's thick in the pour and the bubbles rise very slowly to a head of off off white foam. It's a thin head that falls fast but leaves a ring and a film on top. The stream of effervescence in the center of the glass is slow and lazy.

Nose at first reminds me of canned fruit cocktail. Syrupy and sweet with pineapple. Over ripe orange and orange peel and thankfully some lemon. There's some spice on this , predominantly cinnamon but there is also some soft clove and I can't make up my mind if I notice ginger or not. There is a mild touch of alcohol on the nose as the beer warms. There is a strong floral or berry like quality as well.

Taste is met in the first sip by a sharp bite of alcohol. It doesn't achieve medicinal or fusel but it's sharp. Then you notice a syrupy sweetness. Subsequently it smooths out a bit. The taste is dark caramel. brown sugar, syrup, it could a have a nutty presence but is shy and a spice character that's heavy. The drink is slow and sluggish and it does not travel the palate well. The carbonation is not enough to lighten the sticky syrupy body. The finish is a slightly bitter, a hodepodge of spice and sweet fruit and a reminder of that alcohol and some warmth. Astringent int he finish and a bit flat . overall it lacks luster and courage. It's unctious,and a bit cloying. I think this is just ok. (1,395 characters)

Photo of KFBR392
3.34/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A 2010 bottle purchased from my local bottle shop from their vintage section.

Appearance: Pours with about half a finger of head and had slight head retention on the edges of the glass. Carbonation active in the glass was average to above average. Deep amber copper color to this brew.

Smell: This aspect of the beer has not held up well at all. The most present characteristic is a funky old hops which come off with a wet dog type aroma. Some rubbing alcohol and faint barley can also be picked up on. As the beer warmed up the barley became more present and salvaged some of the smell. You can tell what used to be here but it has just not held up very well.

Taste: The front is a light bodied sweetness of caramel and toffee. The body has a strong malt and barley body which really carry this beer. The alcohol is very tame and can only be found in very light accents on the finish of the beer. Plenty still going on here.

Mouthfeel: The sweet and powerful tones of this beer mix well together and tingle on the palate long after drinking.

Overall: An interesting experiment with this beer at this point. The barley has no doubt become the strong accent and drinks a lot like a barleywine. I would love to try a fresh bottle of this and see how the traditional Lagunitas hop presence being more active would change this brew. (1,337 characters)

Photo of beerthulhu
3.33/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured a clear, deep ruby red with a thin, creamy dirty beige head.

S: On the nose was a light-moderated hoppiness of fresh pine, and a deep rich caramelized malting.

T: The initial flavor was bitter to start with dried grapefruit and pine hopping. The bitterness was sharp and pronounced in the beginning, but mellowing on the finish with a dry floral hoppiness of citrus with a touch of the 8.8% abv being noticed, but otherwise was pretty decently hidden.

M: The mouthful was light, almost watery at times with dry pungent grapefruit grind and pine coming through upon warming.

D: Overall typical lagunitas hopping and really nothing to get excited about. Some alcohol warming providing for a moderate good drinkability. (733 characters)

Photo of Buebie
3.33/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

Picked up today at Zipp's.

Poured from a 12oz brown stubby into a snifter.
Dark in color with a ruby violet transparent glow when held to light. Carbonation is just under a finger of tan, cola like head.
Fizzles down quickly to no retention. Lace is thin and streaky, most of which receeds back into the beer.

Aroma is very fruit forward with a welchs red grape kind of saturated, sweet juice concentrate aroma. Some malts and a touch of cereal grains with a grassy dry hay like aroma. Just a mild touch of solvent at the knose, and by mild I literally mean it.

Very laid back carbonation becoming increasingly smooth with a creamy texture. Terrificly smooth mouthfeel with just a touch of slickness.
Upfront its a bit too sweet with a kind of robotusen cough syrup flavor. Turning a bit sour in a sourish cherry flavor. Hints of oak and more welches juice concentrate.

The flavors are a bit rough, but the mouthfeel is fantastic. I believe a little age on this would do it alot of good. So lets see what 6 months gives us. (1,027 characters)

Photo of Duff27
3.33/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A- Half inch of off white foam on top of a clear dark red/brown beer. Head was short lived, some lacing. Really like the color though.

S- Faint cherries mixed with boozyness.

T- Dark fruits. "Raisins." Well balanced, so it's got that going for it. Noticeable alcohol.

M- Good carbonation. Syrupy mouthfeel.

D/O- Nothing really stands out with this one for me unfortunately. Could be my least favorite Lagunitas to date (a half dozen or so). Would recommend something else in the style. Thanks for the beer PTMcB! (516 characters)

Photo of ToddT
3.33/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Brown in color with a red tint and a tan head. Head fades quickly to a ring and leaves a minimal lacing on the glass.

S- Sugar, raisins, figs, caramel, and malt swirl up from the glass.

T- Sweet malts and sugars stand out at first. This is then tempered down by the notes of fruit and caramel. The finish lingers with a slightly bitter final note.

M- More than medium bodied and a little on the syrupy side . Finish is fairly clean in spite of the thick mouthfeel.

D- Somewhat of a sipper, it hides the 8.8% ABV pretty well, but it is overly sweet.

If it was just the fruit adding the sweetness this would be a winner, but I suspect there is some extra sugar in there as well, making this just too sweet. (712 characters)

Photo of brewcrew76
3.33/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Copper, mahogany with a thin tan head.

S - Sweet, nutty, biscuit, caramel and toffee.

T - Lightly toasted malt, sweet caramel, alcohol and a touch of hops.

M - Medium body and slightly cloying.

D - Malty and slightly boozy making it a bit cloying. Hard to have more than 1 in a sitting. Reminds me of a milder version of brown shugga. (342 characters)

Photo of tone77
3.32/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Poured from a brown 22 oz. bottle. Has a dark brown color with a 1 inch head. Smell is mild, a bit of malts. Taste is alcohol, malts, some sweetness, boozy, a touch if breadiness. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall isn't bad, but a bit disappointing. (260 characters)

Photo of castelli1981
3.32/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Not much of a smell. Looks normal. Tastes smooth with carbonation. No lingering aftertaste. Doesn't feel like 9.1% as you are drinking it. Definitely a beer worth trying. (175 characters)

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. (416 characters)

Photo of misinformed
3.32/5  rDev -14%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle into a Lucifer snifter.

A- Dark brown with reddish highlights. Poured with barely a finger off light brown head that quickly disappeared. No lacing at all that I noticed.

S- Sweet and roasty. Malt. Some light alcohol.

T- Starts off sweet. Notes of caramel and roasted malts. Finishes with mild floral and citrusy hop notes. Slightly spicy towards the end. Once I tasted a distinct but faint hint of smoke. Pretty mellow all around.

M- Medium bodied. Starts off light then the highly active carbonation kicks in.

D- Mellow and well balanced. Seemed to be the opposite of their Undercover Investigation Ale which is hops then malts. The Hairy Eyeball starts out with a nice malt sweetness balanced out with the slightly bitter hop finish. Leans towards a sipper, but if you're into it I could see drinking a couple. It was good, but didn't do much for me. (872 characters)

Photo of mattcrill
3.31/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Aroma: Caramel and maple syrup malt-like notes. Low-moderate fruity esters. No hop aroma.

Appearance: Rich copper colored pour with a low off-white head.

Flavor: Rich caramel and toffee notes. Bread dough-like malt base. A firm, earthy hop bitterness balances the malt flavor. Balance is nearly even but towards the malt slightly. Finish is clean and dry.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with medium carbonation. Slightly warm and slippery due to the alcohol.

Overall impression: A well-balanced American Strong ale. Not hoppy enough to scratch the itch, not malty enough to put it over the top. Not my favorite Lagunitas beer but a very solid example. (647 characters)

Photo of DovaliHops
3.31/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours an extremely dark brown color with a medium off-white head that disappears quickly. Scent is malty with a bit of chocolate and a hint of dark fruits. Taste is WOW...didn't see this coming from a beer with not much going on in the nose. This beer is very sweet, maybe a little overly sweet. I initially get overly sugary molasses with a tad bit of chocolate. Lots of dark fruit flavors with a bit of alcohol. Flavors are not blended together very well IMO. Alcohol is pretty well hidden. Mouthfeel is a bit thin for such a big beer. Drinkability is fair. This is not my favorite beer from Lagunitas. I feel like it's the inbred offspring of Gnarleywine, Imperial Stout, and a Quad of some sort. If you want some bang for your buck though, can't beat the price. (765 characters)

Photo of Chuggnutt
3.3/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: Mahogany brown with some orange. Clear. Head is a nice tan with hints of orange.

Smell: Cloyingly sweet, warm malt. Hops are overwhelmed, but a bit fruity. Almost a flossy Belgian candy sugar.

Taste: Like an old ale¬ómalty, bitter, dark but not burnt. Overlaying that is the sweet alcohol barleywine character and strong almost peppery hops.

Mouthfeel: Nice, thick chewy body. Warming from the alcohol.

Overall: This packs a punch for sure. Not the best I've had from Lagunitas, but not bad by a long shot, either. (538 characters)

Photo of Brent
3.3/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Something about this beer simply failed to connect for me. Moderately turbid chestnut with off-tan head. Up front a big dose of malty sweetness that was reasonably well restrained. Hops followed in a feeble attempt to breach the malt and then fell back after an initial rebuff. Malt rebounded and carried through the finish with a bit of a watery aspect. There was a consistent metallic note throughout. Overall, the effect was that of a barleywine that needed to spend some time in the gym. (491 characters)

Photo of david131
3.3/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- A crystal clear, very amber liquid. A tiny white head forms and leaves tiny splotches and a ring around the edge.

S- Some cinnamon and brown sugar. Sweet smelling, but overall pretty tame.

T- Some cinnamon, but not a lot going on. Kind of dull. The alcohol is very apparent.

M- A little thin for my tastes, could have used some more meat on its bones.

D- Decent. Doesn't blow me away. Kind of tame, but it sure gets the job done. (436 characters)

Photo of walleye
3.3/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From the bottle, poured deep red with off white head. aroma, dark fruits, malts, hops, sour raspberries, plums, alcohol, chocolate, raisins. flavor sweet choclate, malts, plums, raisins, when it warmed up the alcohol came out, a nice bitter finish. enjoyed this (261 characters)

Photo of CTbrew32
3.3/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

The appearance is a deep red amber with a two finger head, but the appearance is probably the best part of the beer. There isn't much aroma at all. The taste Is largely a malty sweetness of caramel and bit of berry fruit taste. There is a slight hop presence, but the malt definitely is the main part of this beer. Overall this beer is good, but this runs on the sweeter side and needs something to balance it out. Worth giving a try considering its only 5 bucks. (76/100) (472 characters)

Photo of drinkiusmaximus
3.3/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Stone pint glass.
A. pours with a half finger of beige head Body is a dark brown with reddish highlights, actually a rather decent looking beer. Head takes a minutes to die down little retention with Decent lacing.

S. Malt, caramel, dark fruit, and alcohol. smells also reminiscent of walnut in there also.

T. Heavy alcohol burn intermingled with woodiness,dark fruits and an odd walnut husk taste.

M. Heavy bodied. Slightly syrupy but not overly sticky. (471 characters)

Photo of ffejherb
3.3/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle into shaker pint on 3/17/09. Thanks to Kegatron for donating a bottle to my beer charity.

A - Poured a clear deep reddish/burgundy/mahogany color with lots of particulates suspended throughout and a slim head that transformed into a wispy retention and left virtually no lacing on the glass.

S - Mild leafy, tea-like and herbal hops and some dark fruit notes suggesting raisins and prunes. Not overly alcoholic given the ABV of this brew, yet it does become more apparent as the liquid reached room temperature. Pretty muted nose overall.

T - Subtle alcohol notes paired with a dark fruit tang and a touch of tea-like hop bitterness in the finish. Some spicy notes appear in the backend akin to clove and coriander. There is also a touch of black licorice sweetness.

M - Medium body with a syrupy texture and pretty lively carbonation on the tongue. Bitterness is actually quite pronounced on the palate.

D - Not really my cup of tea. Pretty subtle in aroma and flavor, overall. Not bad per se, but just not a style that appeals to me compared to a DIPA, Imperial Stout or even a good old fashioned pilsner. (1,129 characters)

Photo of ktrillionaire
3.28/5  rDev -15%
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. (982 characters)

Photo of notlob
3.28/5  rDev -15%
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. (515 characters)

Photo of yeahnatenelson
3.28/5  rDev -15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Wow, this was really not what I was expecting it to be...

Appearance -- Pours a rosy chestnut hue with good clarity and a finger of STIFF beige had. I've never seen head hold onto the walls of a glass like this one. And it only gets weirder from here.

Smell -- The nose reminds me of a Dubbel or a BSDA: Mildly spciy and yeasty with notes of dark fruits, specifically prunes. On top of this is Lagunitas' signature dank hop profile. Is this their idea of a 'Dubbel' IPA?

Taste -- Again, lots of BSDA characteristics, sans Belgian yeast flavors: prune and dried dark fruits, gently roasted malt, cocoa, coffee, pine resin. Plenty of dank hop bitterness. Lingering flavors of dark fruits and pine resin.

Mouthfeel -- Medium-full in body with moderate carbonation. Feels good, but not exceptional.

Overall -- This one just did not work for me. The unique dark roast flavors found in Hairy Eyeball clash with the hops. Then again, I'm not a big fan of BSDA's, which I think this closely resembles, so your mileage may vary. (1,024 characters)

Photo of Jayli
3.28/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This beer pours an amberish brown, nice reddish hues with a one finger of light tannish head. Head recedes quickly and leaving spotty lacing on the glass. Nose is very sweet - sugar, caramel malts, and some candied dark fruits. Taste is of sweet malts and sugar at first. VERY, very sweet beer. The middle is of dark fruits, though still very sweet - like candied dark fruits, and caramel. The finish leaves a very sweet aftertaste to it. Medium bodied, moderate carbonation, thick syrupy mouthfeel to it with an aftertaste similar to when you eat too much candy. The alcohol is very well hidden. For me, the sweetness was overkill that lowered it's drinkability. (663 characters)

Photo of kdesch
3.26/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Not bad. I am not sure I'd go out of my way to buy another sixer. Hard to classify this beer. American brown ale? I really enjoy all the Lagunitas beers, but this one did not really stand out for anything in particular. At 9%, it is a monster so it is not really a "session beer" and I am not sure I would want to spend some of my soberness on this beer. (354 characters)

Hairy Eyeball Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 913 ratings.