The Hairy Eyeball
Lagunitas Brewing Company

The Hairy EyeballThe Hairy Eyeball
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Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
Style:
American Strong Ale
Ranked #182
ABV:
9.1%
Score:
87
Ranked #17,872
Avg:
3.86 | pDev: 11.14%
Reviews:
981
Ratings:
2,787
From:
Lagunitas Brewing Company
 
California, United States
Avail:
Winter
Wants
  83
Gots
  507
SCORE
87
Very Good
The Hairy EyeballThe Hairy Eyeball
Notes:
Reviews: 981 | Ratings: 2,787 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Mister_Faucher
3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

22oz bottled poured in to a nonic glass.

Look- Clear dark mahogany/cola color, nice light khaki head that recedes fairly quickly to a thin cap, a light amount of lacing. Light carbonation streaming as it sits.

Smell- Caramel/toffee type malt, brown sugar, dates and raisins, cocoa, light coffee and nuttiness, light spice notes.

Taste- Follows the nose well, fairly sweet with a bit of a light cherry cola type finish.

Feel- Medium/light bodied, smooth with a lightly bitter finish, nicely balanced. Moderate carbonation on the tongue.

O- Good but not one of Lag's better offerings. Pretty inexpensive but I doubt I'll be going back to this one.

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Mister_Faucher from Washington, Mar 18, 2020
Photo of maxpower
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Fresh 22 oz bottle pours clear dark brown color. Creamy off white head with some large bubbles that quickly dissipates. Not much lacing. Aromas of raisins and coca, Perfect meld of sugar and dark fruit flavor. At $3.99 a 22 oz. bottle is amazing!

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maxpower from Missouri, Feb 03, 2020
Photo of Livyatan1996
4.07/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

does the fact that it was only a few bucks play into this rating? hopefully not. poured into a tulip a deep slightly amber, mostly brown color with a big foamy off white head. some bits of lacing left behind, stream of bubbles constantly flying from down below. nose is a whole lot of roasted, nearly burnt malts and sugars. caramel/toffee is the star here, with some dried fruit, char and a touch of booze also seeping out of the glass. flavor wise it's a lot smoother than i was expecting, with brown sugar and biscuit/toast mixing with caramel/toffee. there's a good chunk of sweetness but i'm not against that with something like this. various dried darker fruits, the slightest hint of bitterness and an ever increasing warmth fill in the profile. does remind me of a belgian/german malt bomb without the hop/yeast balance. smooth drinking overall, not particularly full bodied and plenty fizzy. i'll probably grab a few more while they're around, good stuff.

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Livyatan1996 from Missouri, Jan 17, 2020
Photo of sjrider
3.97/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bottle - clear very dark amber / brown with quickly dissipating off white head leaving bubbly lacing. Nose is mild dark earthy malt with a hint of sweetness. Taste follows more or less. Finishes a bit thin.

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sjrider from California, Jan 01, 2020
Photo of iguanodon
3.4/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

[Original rating 2014-03-01] Pours dark reddish brown with a thick light brown head. Aroma is sweet malt, faint earth. Taste is sweet malt, too sweet for me.

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Photo of Bouleboubier
3.96/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

(22 oz bottle, no indication of age... purchased at State Line... poured into a fat Delirium tulip)

L: crystal-clear, ruby red liquid; tall, spongy, off-white foam that upon collapsing leaves chunky lace around the lip of the glass... upon refill with remainder of bottle, specks do suspend but do not offend

S: wood embers, hearty bread and med-dark crystal malt, hint of pine, mellow phenolic cinnamon/potpourri spice, hint of dried strawberry... floral aromas creep up back out of the nose as it goes, while the scent from the glass gets doughier... shows some raisin and brandy later on

T: candy malt with light sweetness which gives a tail to its dried-fruit hop flavors... the taste seems pretty typical for a darker Lagunitas beer - dried cherry, subtle candy-bar caramel, faded pine essence - the little extra baby fat in its malt foundation being the stand out element here... hints of light chocolate and hard candy push to the front with each sip, as well as some lingering (candied) citrus rind in the aftertaste... it's almost as if this was a Belgian holiday ale hopped like a West Coast barleywine - tasty but maybe too much

F: foamy, fuzzy, semi-thickish but flat like a puck... subtle oily viscosity at the bottom... the alcohol awakens but only delicately heats the palate... could probably drink pitchers of it while sporting, playing billiards - it's got that touch

O: I guess I shouldn't be surprised that the flavor profile here doesn't deviate all that much from their shtick (nothing that bad about having a signature framework)... the taste degrades, leading me to believe this is an older bottle - I will likely revisit this in fresher states

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Bouleboubier from New Jersey, Jan 15, 2018
Photo of Lone_Freighter
3.99/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The appearance has a semi-dark brown colored body with a thin less than a half fingered white foamy head that ends up leaving a very good drastic clingy lacing to the glass. The smell has some very sweet roasted caramel malts. The taste is exceptionally sweet, bready, and sticky in the flavoring. There is a super sweet sticky caramel aftertaste with a dry sweet finish. On the palate, it sits about a medium on the body with a decent sessionable aspect to it. The carbonation is decent for the style and for me as its semi smooth and barely anything harsh. Overall, pretty nice American Strong Ale.

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Photo of jkblr
3.94/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

22oz bottled October 2015 poured into a tulip glass at fridge temp 9.1% ABV. The beer appears brown with red highlights when held to light. The head is thick from an aggressive pour and light brown in color. Lacing is substantial and the beer keeps a thin head while consumed. The aroma is dark fruit, chocolate and a little booze. The taste follows with sweet, slightly oxidized dark fruits and a balancing bitterness that finishes with a dark chocolate note. The mouthfeel is chalky, and a bit thin. Overall, very good, but probably better fresh. My cellar isn't perfect temperature so I can't say if it's the beer or the conditions that didn't let it improve.

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jkblr from Indiana, May 10, 2017
Photo of Red5StandingBy
3.99/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from 1 1/2 pint bottle into stein glass, no freshness or bottling date.

L: Gorgeous garnet with two finger tan head with great retention.

S: Dried fruits, nutmeg, vanilla, citrus hops, brown sugar, honey.

T: Plum, date, honey, nutmeg, bready malt and caramel with honey. Citrus and pine hops, very complex and smoothly balanced.

F: Full bodied, warming velvety smoothness.

O: Home run by Lagunitas here.

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Photo of angelmonster
4.16/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review is of a bomber about 2 years old.

Pours an extremely dark walnut body. Head is beige and 1/5th of an inch.

Smell is heavy on toffee, caramel, biscuit malt, and chocolate malt. Smells like somewhere between a bock, dubbel, and barleywine. For 9%, alcohol isn't very present, neither are hops.

Taste is a big malt bomb. Getting some fruity esters similar to a dubbel, but less spice. Caramel, toffee, burnt biscuits and light char take over as beer warms. Alcohol is there but not too overpowering, no hops at all.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, well carbonated with a nice head that stuck around for awhile.

Overall this beer was unique and one note at the same time. Got a ton of malt from the beer, yeast strain must have been something Belgian, dont know where else the dried fruit characteristics would come from. Even though it was very sweet and malty I think it'd make a good dessert beer.

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angelmonster from Colorado, Dec 02, 2016
Photo of Treyliff
3.14/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

22oz bottle poured into a snifter

A- pours a deep amber brown color with a thin creamy off-white head that has good retention

S- malt-forward aroma with caramel and raisin. Grassy & earthy, rubber, licorice & bread crust

T- malty up front with notes of caramel, brown bread and raisin. Mid-Palate brings some earthy hops poking through, plenty of booze kicks in as it nears the finish, strange saltiness on the linger

M- medium body with moderate carbonation leads to a foamy mouthfeel that turns slight creamy into a boozy finish

O- the booze was so detectable that it almost tastes like vodka on the linger. Lagunitas' strong ales just don't do it for me, and this one is no different

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Treyliff from West Virginia, Oct 13, 2016
Photo of Gear54
3.87/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

From a 22 oz bottle into a pint glass.

pour is a hazy brown/amber color with minimal foam that fades quickly. Little if any lace left on the glass.

Smell is very malt forward with caramel and toffee. I get some bread notes from the yeast and some earthy and grassy notes from the hops.

Taste is sweet nuttiness with roasted malt and caramel. I little more sweetness than i had expected but not in a bad way.

feel is medium with a dry finish. Moderate carbonation makes it a touch effervescent. A bit rich and sweet for what i like to see in a strong ale.

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Gear54 from Indiana, Jul 18, 2016
Photo of Beginner2
3.8/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I never drank the earlier renditions of this ale so I can't compare the recipes.
But this one achieves two things.
First, it handles its hops well.It is balanced. At 56.6 IBU, it is above my threshold where my throat starts to close down and I can't drink anymore. (In some social situations this is good.) The caramel malt actually wins in the end.
Second, it does not hit you in the face with its alcohol content. This also is the sign of a master brewer.
I'm guessing, but this bottle and recipe came out of their Chicago plant serving the rest of the country and -- as I understand it -- the craft brewers of this metropolis.
If so, you done good.

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Beginner2 from Illinois, May 17, 2016
Photo of StJamesGate
3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Chestnut with crusty tan. 4
Sticky caramel, jam, licorice, erasers, and red jellies. 4
Strawberry cough drops, some toffee crisp, coffee candy and no hops. 3.75
Medium, chewy, salty. 4

Just… so… sweet. Barleywine maltiness without the hops or even like a Quad without the phenols. Only a touch of sherry and the alcohol heat serve to temper this. Grown up candy, for better or worse. 3.75

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StJamesGate from New York, May 03, 2016
Photo of Troy-Hawaii
3.25/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Bought 22oz bottle from Times Fujiokas $4.89
Dark, reddish brown color
Heavy moutfeel
Medium-low carbonation
Sweet, caramel, maple taste
Overall not for me.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.45/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Brown like color to it, 1/5" off white head. Lots of winter warmer like toffee and alcohol blasts in the aroma.

Taste was more of the toffee/caramel interplay, booze, plenty of hoppy bitterness to counteract. This is a big beer that doesn't drink as big as it nice, a nice point there.

Solid beer.

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Photo of wuthrichj15
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Another average beer experience for me from Lagunitas. This is a really malty beer. Carmel taste, lots of malt, fairly sweet, a little booze burn as it goes down. Nothing to freak out about in my opinion.

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Photo of AndrewMichael
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle shared with friends, and poured into a pint glass.
Brown color and malty aromas.
This beer is a major "malt bomb", but I like the spectrum covered by Lagunitas as most of their beers are great "hop bombs".

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Photo of craftbeersweden
3.62/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear, dark mahogny colored beer with a three finger high, creamy and fluffy head that leaves a lot of lacing.

Nose: Dried fruit, pear, sweet caramel malt, pine, brown sugar and honey.
Taste: A lot of malt! Chewy, pine, oak, caramel, grass and some grapefruit.
Mouthfeel: Full body. Very sweet and thick body. I think this will grow better with aging in my beercellar. A little bit to sweet right now! Medium carbonation. Bittersweet ending.

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Photo of dacrza1
3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

DATE TASTED: March 4, 2016... GLASSWARE: Duvel tulip... OCCASION: the first day of baseball practice--and for the first time in seven years, I am not there! To Bob, Butch, Kyle, Adam and Rob--this one's for you... APPEARANCE: dark ruby body that lets in little light but supports a thick, creamy off-white head that craters slightly and resembles a nitro stout...lacing is significantly hazing... AROMA: strong malts are front and center, with fresh dough, caramel and spices like soft pepper, raisin, and chocolate--not as dynamic as other Lagunitas offerings... PALATE: warm, thick and significant in its trip across the tongue; dry at the finish... TASTE: raisin, dough and prune make for a sweet, barley-forward experience akin to a barleywine... OVERALL:another BIG beer from Lagunitas that lacks the diverse profile of other Lagunitas offerings, but still brings high alcohol and powerful mouthfeel.... this could just as easily create a hangover as cure one... tough to find the hops here, but this is a beer to say goodbye to winter with...

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dacrza1 from New Jersey, Mar 05, 2016
Photo of Jaypeajus
3.93/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Looks: dark hues of copper, no head. After it settled it had the coloration of the polished piece of sap that had a mosquito in it in Jurassic Park. Smells pretty sweet, I expect, like a few other Lagunitas, for this to be thick and leave a thick, viscous, syrupy aftertaste. And...there it is. Not too outstanding overall, kinda blurs the lines for me on whether it is much different than Under Investigation Ale, which I recently had. Biggest dif is this is gonna light me up more cos it's a pint..for $4.39 it was a good buzz, uhmm I mean buy.

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Jaypeajus from Indiana, Feb 25, 2016
Photo of Bretweir
3.94/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Lovely color that I would expect from an ale of this caliber. Lagunitas is one of my favorite go-to brewers for their IPA - and the Hairy Eyeball is a great submission into my catalog of beers from Lagunitas that I enjoy. The nose (to me) was low and marginal at best, but not to my dissatisfaction. Taste is nutty, malty and slightly sweet with enough hops to give a nice bitter follow-through. Feel is full and creamy without being heavy. Overall a great starter that goes down easy (almost too easy) and creates a craving for another. The ABV suggests otherwise. :)

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Bretweir from California, Feb 20, 2016
Photo of Nomstep
3.19/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 5 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

A- Dirty dirty brown. Hold to the light, dark amber. Minimal head. Beautiful.
S- Keep accidently dipping my nose in the beer. Light malt. Nutty, lightly toasted.
T- Cream soda. Toast nutty malt, similar to smell.
M- Creamy. Effervescent. Mild syrup at the end.
O- Slightly over syrupy. and malty, but excellent if you are into nutty malts. Carbonation is perfect.

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Nomstep from California, Feb 17, 2016
Photo of Svingjo
3.47/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a rich dark Amber colour with a finger thick beige head with a lengthy retention. I get a very mild sweet malt and some piney hops but it's only on the edges. I really have to get my nose almost right into the beer to get anything. The taste is quite malt heavy and sweet. Almost syrupy sweet. There is some that piney hop around the middle and finishes up with a mild bitterness. I found this slight too syrupy for my taste and feel it could use a more balanced approach.

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Svingjo from British Columbia (Canada), Feb 15, 2016
Photo of Bunman3
4.04/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Hairy eyeball, indeed. I've been on the receiving end of more than one. This is a really tasty beer. It looks fantastic - great head and lacing, deep amber in colour. The hops are evident on first sniff, but the strength of this beer is the rich flavour profile. The dark fruit, toffee and coffee cake notes get backed up by a warming and incredibly satisfying booziness. A dandy beer, to be sure!

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Bunman3 from Alberta (Canada), Jan 29, 2016
The Hairy Eyeball from Lagunitas Brewing Company
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 2787 ratings