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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 DaveHS
3.45/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-Ruby/burgundy with 1/4 inch of khaki colored head. Rings of stringy lacing.

S-Fruity. Cherry, brown sugar, fruitcake, brandy.

T/M-I was expecting a lot more from this. Limited in terms of flavor for what is usually a bold, flavorful style. Papery, boozy, dry. Hints of brown sugar, but none of the fruit the nose promised. This isn't doing much for me. Medium bodied, with fizzy carbonation.

D- Skip this and go straight to the Gnarlywine.

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Photo of rfgetz
3.45/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown, letting light through easily, minimal head. Scent is of musty earthy hops and combines with a strong molasses and fig backbone. Taste is slightly thin in complexity and the body follows suit with some wateryness. taste brings some more fruittyness with spice, but the earhty and musty hops cover up much of this. One of the weaker flavored and bodied strong ales I have had.

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Photo of MrHungryMonkey
3.45/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Reddish copper color, good clarity, good head.

Big, maltly nose with herbal, fresh-smelling hops.

Thick, chewy malt greets me openly, pulls me in to find heavy roast tones and ample syrupy sweetness. Touches of hops blossom into splashes of full-on grassy/herbal/leafy/spicy/zesty hops. Bitterness grows too, and begins to throw the beer out of balance. The sweet malt begins tasting more like syrup and less like malt. Alcohol becomes increasingly more pronounced. Hints of vanilla.

Better than I would have thought based on my initial impressions from the bottle, but it could be better. I'd try it again.

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Photo of DrDoitchbig
3.44/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Poured a surprising chocolate brown hue with some tinges of orange and red. It's probably one of the darkest strong ales I've seen, but it is a catch all style. The cream colored head started off at about one and a half fingers and stuck around throughout leaving generous, finger width gashes of lacing along the way.

Smell: Despite my numerous attempts at agitating the beer the aroma on this is pretty weak. The aroma that is here is mainly compromised of caramel malts and some earthy, floral hops.

Taste: There was a good base going on in the smell, but it was just too weak. Thankfully the taste department picks up where the smell left off and kicks it up a notch in the process. This is a fairly balanced beer with perhaps a slight edge going to the malts. Caramel and toffee come to mind with some traces of vanilla in the background. The hops are earthen, spicy, perhaps a tad medicinal with a flash of pine. Deep down there are some fruity esters hanging around. This beer has some really nice malt characteristics, but I wish they were playing second fiddle to the hops. I suppose that's just the way I like my strong ales.

Mouthfeel: A solid medium for the body, with a very nice creaminess to it. Carbonation is also solid, could be a tad higher.

Drinkability: Perhaps I've been drinking too many highly hopped beers as of late, but to me this tastes like more of an Irish Red than an American Strong Ale. The hop and malt profiles both match up fairly well to the Irish Red category. It's a nice easy going beer and I would gladly drink another, but this style has more to offer. The alcohol is covered very well.

This is the third beer I've had from Lagunitas and it's starting to become appearant that they are a little hit or miss in my book. One of the beers was fantastic, one was middle of the road and the last I just didn't enjoy. This one was the middle of the road.

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Photo of BeerAficionadoMCMXC
3.44/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A- Appearance is dark brown, mahogany. Cabonation is Medium +.
S- Smell is of dark fruits, plums, some dark caramel malts, some lime, and an alcohol presence.
T- Taste shows the dark caramel flavor accented with a cinnamon spice flavor. Slightly cloying.
M- Body is medium heavy with a medium carbonation.
O- I say this beer is an enhanced brown ale. The alcohol is present and the body is slightly cloying.

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.44/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a brilliant reddish brown color with a decent sized creamy off white head that shows moderate retention and a fair amount of lace. An almost artificial smelling fruity nose with lots of grape, cherry, and tangerine. Brown sugar, caramel and hints of yeast esters play supporting roles. Little to no hop aroma. The flavor is quite complex actually. Sweet and sugary up front mixed with grape dimetapp and a hint of wet cardboard. A hint of earthy hop flavor mixed with a bit of alcohol comes through next as do some quad like yeasty flavors. Lingering dark sugar drizzled cherries long after each sip. Medium to thick body with a light to moderate level of carbonation and a sweet almost syrupy mouthfeel. Odd brew for sure, it took me a bit to figure it out, and it was somewhat drinkable. Probably wouldn't seek out again, but glad to try it.

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Photo of MarriedAtGI
3.44/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Crystal clear, mahogany color, less than a finger of head with light tan color and very fine bubbles. Really a great looking beer.

S: Raisins and nutmeg, but not very much aroma

T: Starts very sweet but quickly dries out on the front of the tongue. Nutmeg follows the nose.

M: Thick body, almost syrupy with light carbonation which emphasizes the sweetness of the beer

O: A good winter beer. I wouldn’t rush out for more, but I wouldn’t turn it down if offered to me either. Better at cellar temp than refrigerator temp.

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Photo of Bigfatbino
3.43/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Lagunitas the hairy eyeball ale

A = very dark in the glass like a porter or stout, poured at 42°F and had a light-syrupy characteristic. Left little head, but had beautiful lacing in the glass , very few bubbles.

S = Roasted barley, coffee, and citrus, but the smell of alcohol was unmistakable under it. (it's a hefty 8.8% abv)

T = STRONG. It does taste like it smells, and if it were served to me flat and warm, I would swear it really WAS some sort of coffee. The alcohol really comes out up front, and the taste of the brew itself is rather off-putting, but the finish really delivers well

M = Thick, syrupy and resinous. I'm eager to get the swallow through so I can enjoy the finish of the flavor.

D = not so much. Perhaps at a beer tasting or a festival, but for me this would not be placed into my collection of "drinking" beers, so much as "appreciation of brewing skill" beers. Food pairing: Mutton. Goat, or Game, but as a palate cleansing beverage, not a "beer with dinner"

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Photo of tpd975
3.43/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Dark chestnut hue with a nice thick head. Low carbonation and little to no lacing.

S: Big on the malt. Tons of caramel and some toffee. The booze can be noted as well.

T: This one is big and thick. Tons of malt flavors right up front. Caramel and molasses along with some toffee start this one off. A hint of dark fruit comes next. The alcohol taste is fairly prominent here. Very few hops noted.

M: Sort of cloying. The carbonation is on the low side. Just so so to be honest.

D: Not a favorite of mine. One bottle was fine for the session, one bottle is fine forever to be honest.

Overall: I enjoy the hop forward brews Lagunitas puts out. This is not one of my favorites and one I will most likely pass on in the future.

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Photo of Ohmmygawd
3.43/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle to glass.

A- Dark brown with a hint of red. I saw mahogany on here and agreed. Dark stained mahogany or rosewood.

S- Alcohol kick with a rich plum following.

T- Starts with a deep dark malt flavor and finishes with a little hint of sweetness.

M- High gravity and leaves a little tingle on the tongue.

O- Nice beer, deep and rich but really only one note. The ABV doesn't need to be this high for a beer like this and actually kinda hurts it. I really like how the color sets it apart from other strong ales.

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Photo of beerfairy
3.43/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Nice brown or dark caramel color with a beautiful 1 inch thinck creamy head. Great lacing on the glass. Head and lacing maintain throughout the experience.

S: Heavy malt smell, a bit of fruitiness

T: Malty but not overpowering, you can taste a slight bit of alcohol after drinking about half the bottle.

M: Coats the mouth well, bit of a bite from the alcohol at the end.

D: With the 8.8% ABV I can't drink more than a few of these in a sitting, but it's not a bad beer.

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Photo of pkalix
3.43/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

brown. very brown. nut brown ale type of brown. no head.
smells like a sweet nut brown from Newcastle. my bottle says 9.4%. and the story on the side of my bottle paints a terrible picture of utter uncomfortability. not how I want to feel. nor would I want to drink a warm 1/2 bottle of anything in that condition. also slight band aid flavor= aroma....
taste is . . . tangy. different, syrup-y, nut-brown-ale-ish, but tangy. I suppose it is categorized as a "strong ale". is that really a category, by the way?? or a catch-all for stuff that finds the cracks like coins and change in a seat cushion? thick. syrup-y (again). much thicker than it looks sitting in the glass... again, the impression is of a Newcastle, but hence, the reason for no foam.
lagunitas to me equals hops, much like stone used to. I was very happy to try this one because I thought it would be a high strength nut brown, but this is just way too syrupy for me. the smell turns out to be a warning rather than an oddity, after tasting it.
reading the other reviews of the past, I wonder if the recipe has changed. regardless, there are not many beers which are so totally toxic they do not deserve a 'decent' rating... let's call it a 'winter warmer' although it's still 72 degrees out at 5pm here on SoCal...

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Photo of pdoran10
3.43/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a ruby brown color into a snifter. two fingers of off white head. Good amount of lacing.

Smell is rich caramel, some dark fruit notes. Lots of malt diversity.

Really malt heavy beer with mostly just bitterness coming through from the hops. I the malt is halfway to a stout with out the chocolate notes, and heavy on the fig and date flavors. Complex malt profile dominates.

Mouthfeel is thick and chunky with moderate to low carbonation. Heavy and not crisp.

One of these is enough for me. Not digging the heavy figgy malt profile.

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Photo of aforbes10
3.42/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

got this at the Corkscrew in Urbana, IL. Poured much, much darker than i had expected. A dark red brown with red tinge to it. Nice head that settles well and leaves a nice lacing. Odor is hoppy, slightly fruity (raspberries?) Smells strong and flavorful. Taste has tons of hop bitterness but not a ton of hop flaovr. Some caramel mingling with dry malts. Bitterness dominates this brew and is maybe a bit overdone. heavy mouthfeel. This one is a bit of a one-trick pony. Ok if you like a hop bomb i guess, but its not all that interesting.

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Photo of tonistruth
3.42/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- dark copper with mahogany hues, 1/2" off white head, little retent

S- dried fruit, caramel, malty, pine

T- fruit, caramel, brown sugar, sweet and sneaky alcohol at finish, molasses

M-medium body, some carbonation tickles, slight slight alcohol at finish

D- think hoppy scotch ale or a balanced scotch ale, complex and enjoyable, a more pronounced hop presence would be nice, good none the less

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Photo of Shumista
3.41/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into my Chimay goblet.

A- Hairy eyeball looks great. It pours a dark brown that has tons of red in it when you hold it up to the light. Medium light tan head resulting from an aggressive pour.
S- Sweet caramel malt and dark fruit, not what I expected for some reason.
T- Very fruity taste coming from the dark fruits, sweet brown sugar, caramel malts and a nice amount of bitterness from the hops in the background.
M- Medium bodied and syrupy.
D- It's pretty sweet so I don't think I would want to have any more than one more after this one. This would make a pretty good dessert beer I think.

Not a bad beer at all, I'm glad I picked it up on a whim. Definitely one that is worth a try. I probably won't be buying it again anytime soon though because while it wasn't bad it didn't impress me that much either.

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Photo of beagle75
3.39/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a tulip glass.

A: Clear, dark amber color with less than one finger of diminishing light beige foam head. Light spotty lacing remains on the glass.

S: Mild and malt-focused, with some well-behaved caramel and complementary husky grain. A fine thread of wintergreen, seeming equally authentic and artificial, is also detected while the beer is still rather cold. Coconut slowly emerges as it warms. No alcohol is detected.

T: Begins very off-dry, with mostly dark crystal malt up front. Molasses is more heavily represented than unrefined grain, although the tendency is not extreme. Acidity is strong into the middle where some medicinal bitterness develops. Malt turns more toward the brown during the second act. The finish is surprisingly short, drying, with the earlier bitterness lingering in a pure--but not particularly appealing--form. No alcohol is detected.

M: Thin to medium viscosity, acidic at times but also fairly wet on the palate, with moderate carbonation.

D/O: This beer follows the blueprint for a very ordinary American strong ale, but does so effectively. It exhibits some semblance of balance, with hops and malt each evident to some degree. That said, it is the malt influence that is most appealing and memorable.

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Photo of MikeyRx
3.39/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a rich, deep mahogany with a small amount of off-white head that subsided quickly but leaves a thin film.

Smell: Surprisingly minimal aroma... Hints of sweet malt,and raisin.

Taste: Sweet, rich, slightly toasted malt with hints of chocolate and caramel. Ester and raisin flavors take over from the malt starting sweet and bittering as they reach the back of the palate. Slightly boozy flavor emerges as the beer moves across the palate and becomes more pronounced as the beer warms.

Mouthfeel: Medium-heavy in body with a chewy mouthfeel that lingers through the finish until the last moment where a slight astringent bitterness takes over.

Overall: A good strong ale. The flavor and mouthfeel were good but the lack of aroma was disappointing.

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Photo of OWSLEY069
3.38/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a deep amber to black in color with a light tan head. In the aroma, caramel and candy sugar. In the taste, just like the aroma, caramel and candy sugar, with hints of alcohol. A smooth and medium bodied mouthfeel, with a dry sticky sweet candy sugar aftertaste. Nice big ale, but kind of line and average.

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Photo of sweemzander
3.38/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz. bottle poured into an imperial pint. No recognized bottled date.

(A)- Pours a clear, but fairly dark mahogany color with ruby red highlights. Produced a huge 3+ finger tan head that just erupted in foam during the pour, but also dissipated just as quickly. It just coated & stuck to every inch of the glass; just like if the foam was a sweater, the glass is wearing a foamy sweater lol.

(S)- A smoky peat-like smokehouse on the nose. Bits of cranberry, brown sugar, cinnamon, molasses, and bacon?

(T)- Very similar to the smell. A bit less smoke presence, but still subtle. Rather festive in smell & flavor. Very much reminiscent of a winter warmer. Spicy, with a ginger bread thing going on. Very malty.

(M)- A good carbonation level. The ginger-like spice in the flavor starts to become a little overpowering the more I drink this; it clouds the other good nuances going on in this brew.

(D)- An interesting american strong ale. Reminds me more of a winter warmer like I stated earlier, but still enjoyable. Would be even better if it were more balanced, but perhaps this would benefit from additional bottle aging?

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Photo of notchucknorris
3.38/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a deep mahogany color with a one-finger tan head that holds up well.

S: Brown sugar, hints of overripe fruit that's been sitting in the sun and a little bit of soy sauce. Strange combination.

T: Sweet and malty upfront with a slight citrus hop bite towards the middle. I'm getting kind of a strange burnt flavor in there as well as a bit of beef jerky and coffee flavor towards the finish. It's a little on the sweet side for me and there's not quite enough hop bitterness or carbonation to tone it down.

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Photo of Dubbercody
3.38/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle, 12 oz. glad this baby is not a bomber...I'd be toasty.

Light nose, some chocolate flavor comes out with a nice roast backbone. Somewhat creamy, nice brew. Glad I got to it while it's still nippy out at night.

Tasty beer, one I should have tried long ago, but kept passing up. Dammed if I'm not kicking myself now. Defiantly worth picking up the single, I'll have to get a sixer next time. Really really drinkable for a 9% beer.

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Photo of northaustin
3.38/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

poured into an imperial pint glass. a very dark amber with a finger of even white/brown head.

smell: sweet malts and massive earthy hops. smells like a mix between an american strong ale and an english barleywine.

tastes a bit hectic. its almost as if so many flavors are trying to fit in that none of them can be special. i guess im getting a very malty/ caramel aftertaste but everything else is very subdued and hard to describe.

mouthfeel: oily at first, leaves a dry front of mouth and cheeks.

drinkability: i remember this one being alot better. perhaps my palate has developed since last year or perhaps i dont remember that well. i remember it being more like a classic american barleywine. still a well masked high abv and affordable.

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Photo of ballewblake
3.37/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

No room for head on the heavy pour from the bar. Great lacing, opaque brew, dark amber body. Knocking points off smell here as I was getting a low to no smell, taste is where this one wins. Sweet and hoppy, almost double IPA flavors. Carbonation on the tongue is mild but noticeable. Excellent balance of malts and hops. Full body beer, good mouth fill. A good session beer for me.

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Photo of Frosty80
3.36/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Color: clear, dark amber

Smell: not very fragrant. maybe some dark fruit and malty sweetness with a little bit of alcohol

Taste: id say dominated by bitterness and alcohol, though that might give the wrong impression. there is a little bit of malty sweetness and dark fruit, but the alcohol and bitterness is more up front

Mouthfeel: medium body. low carbonation. smooth

Notes: just like Lagunitas - not a lot of anything here. its like they are too afraid of putting too much flavor in their beers. further evidence that lagunitas is overrated

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