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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

917 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 917
Hads: 2,458
Avg: 3.86
pDev: 18.65%
Wants: 64
Gots: 355 | 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: 917 | Hads: 2,458
Photo of kojevergas
3.36/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

9.4% ABV confirmed per the label. 56.66 IBUs. O.G. 1.090. 1 pint 6 fl oz brown glass bottle with appealing label art and branded scrotum blue pry-off pressure cap acquired at a local CO bottle shop and served into an EKU 28 stem-snifter in me parents' gaff in high altitude Castle Rock, Colorado. Reviewed live. Expectations are high given the brewery. No style is identified on the label.

Served cold - straight from the fridge - and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: No bubble show forms as it's poured.

Pours a 1.5 finger wide head of white colour. Nice thickness and creaminess. Has a nice smooth even consistency. Inconsistent lacing clings to the sides of the glass as the head recedes. Head retention is above average - about 3-4 minutes.

Body colour is a very dark nontransparent sanguine. Rich. No floating yeast particles/sediment is visible.

Overall, it looks generally appealing but is far from unique or special.

Sm: Raisin, amber malts, cream, faint vanilla, caramel, dark malts, marshmallow, and some dark fruit - mainly grape with some plum there too. The dark fruit is a highlight for me personally. Some rum/sugarcane. Burnt sugars.

No hop character, yeast character, or alcohol is detectable. It isn't an alive aroma. Mild in strength.

T: Rum, dark fruit (grape, plum, cherry), dark malts, light vanilla, cream, caramel, burnt sugars, raisin, and a kiss of anise. It's an interesting build, but I have trouble identifying a clear style. Sort of an American take on a Belgian Strong Dark Ale? Balanced enough, with fair complexity and some limited subtlety. It's not intricate or nuanced. Has some unbecoming bitterness.

No alcohol, yeast character, or hop character comes through.

Mf: Smooth and wet. Scratchy and rough on the palate; it has an assaulting distracting presence. Full-bodied and thick. Overcarbonated. Not as soft as would be ideal. Lightly syrupy.

Not oily, gushed, hot, boozy, or astringent.

Dr: Very drinkable for the high ABV. I'll manage to kill this bottle alone with relative ease. That said, it's not a fantastic strong ale. The dark fruit notes are interesting, but ultimately this is a pretty middle-of-the-road strong ale and I wouldn't pick it up again.


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Photo of TCgoalie
3.35/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A frothy white head collects as I pour a hairy eyeball into my glass. The color is a clear reddish brown lighter in color than I would have expected. After a few minutes, the head goes away but collects at the sides when swirled around.

Candied brown sugar smells combines with a pinch of anise to create a warming scent. A pleasant warming of the nose occurs showing a bit of heat in the smell.

Brown sugar, molasses, and some burnt flavors start to create a pleasant drinker in the front end. Near the end, some piney/flowery hops take away from what the beer is creating. The resulting aftertaste is confusingly bitter and moderately hot.

This is medium in the mouth with a good deal of carbonation and ample drying. Not too exciting in the mouthfeel.

For the 9% I would say the drinkability is average. The alcohol is not very well hidden and the harsh bitter nature does not promote more drinks. Probably the most disappointing Lagunitas I have had...perhaps it is just a bad bottle?

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Photo of WanderingFool
3.35/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It took me 3 trips to the store to finally grab a six pack of Hairy Eyeball. This time it was I who grabbed the last bottles of this beer.

Hairy Eyeball pours a clear dark mahogany color with a small, creamy tan head on top. The foam dissolves quickly leaving no signs of lace on the glass. An aroma of cherry, raisins, vanilla and medicine greets you before each sip.

Each sip of this medium to full bodied beer is somewhat chewy with a frothy fizz on the palate. The flavor is mainly caramel malt with notes of cherry and raisins. Towards the end some grape notes move in and it finishes with some floral hoppy bitterness to balance out the malt. Once gone some of the sweet malt and cherry flavor lingers on the palate.

This reminds me of a barleywine that isn't overloaded with hops. It's very well balanced, but appears rather flat without any foam or lace.

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Photo of demcorhip
3.35/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A nice enough looking brew, lost some points due to the fact that the one finger tan head didnt stick around for very long, the lacings are ok but quickly slide back into the beer. Its body is almost chesnut hued, and almost but not quite clear, suppose thats what makes this eyeball hairy?

Big toffee malt nose with hints of treacle. Some mineral, and just the faintest earthiness coming in from the hops.

A touch too sweet for my tastes, there are plenty of unfermented sugars present. Loads of toffee with a hint of treacle and roasted malts present. A clean bitterness asserts itself on the finish, with woody, earthy undertones, but cant compete with the rich and sweet malt onslaught.

Medium bodied, malt forward almost to a fault, especially considering the residual sweetness. Some alcohol heat also manages to assert itself managing to add another dimension to the rich malts.

This brew didnt do it for me. Too malt forward without the balance to pull it all together. Glad to try it, but probably wont be trying it again.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Hairy Eyeball Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 917 ratings.