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Hairy Eyeball Ale | Lagunitas Brewing Company

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Hairy Eyeball AleHairy Eyeball Ale

Brewed by:
Lagunitas Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.40%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 01-12-2002

For Trade:
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Reviews: 957 | Ratings: 2,651
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.

 911 characters

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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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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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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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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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 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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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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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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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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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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Photo of GStone899
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Smell is hard to distinguish. Dark malts and toffee come through. Taste is very bold and rich with the taste of toffee, chocolate n dark fruit. Would definitely drink this again.

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Photo of fscottkey
4.28/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: [4.50] Dark copper colored. Surprisingly dark but still very transparent. It forms a full finger of off whtie head that is dense and unmoving. I am really impressed by the look of this beer. The bottle lists the ABV (9.1%) and there is a born on code (11/05/15).

S: [4.00] I am getting a Marzen type aroma. Caramel, breadiness, toffee, some grassy hops interplaying, and definitely some yeast esters.

T: [4.50] Brown sugar, caramel, roasted malts, maybe mild bittersweet chocolate.

M: [4.00] Rich on the tongue. Nice carbonation slight hop tickle at the finish.

O: [4.25] I never read the commercial description or other info so this bottle says "Ale". To me this is very Marzen like in its flavor profile, maybe with less of the spices, but the malt build is similar. Like a really good brown ale. I have locked in final answer - really good brown ale. Lots of caramel, toffee, roasted malts, some nuttiness. It is really flavorful and pretty awesome. Looks really nice in the glass has wonderful taste profile and is smooth as it goes down. Sadly it is a limited release. But because it is Lagunitas it is only $5 so I may have to grab an extra for later!

 1,178 characters

Photo of DaBurls
3.69/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

this was the first year trying this. it wasn't as overwhelming as I thought it would be. the look is great: dark redish brown. Smell is sweet, piney, almost like a green grape. Taste is a sweet, malty upfront with a toasty syrup backend taste. Feel of it wasn't too shocked. It is what it is: strong American ale with a good overall taste and slight alcohol warmth. Overall: solid beer from Lagunitas. Cheers

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Photo of crob3888
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a beautiful reddish-brown with a light beige head that left excellent lacing in the glass. Aromas and flavors are an intermingling of dark fruits, raisin bread, and sweet brown sugar with a hint of alcohol heat. Overall its not as complex as I prefer for the style; compared to the strong ales from Stone, Firestone Walker, Lost Abbey, Hair of the Dog, and The Bruery, this is very one-note and underwhelming in that regard. But, it's still drinkable and flavorful enough for a decent score, and the price-point is fair.

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Photo of bushbeer75
4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

1pt. 6 fl. oz brown bottle - not dated

Hairy Eyeball Ale poured a dark brown with a red cast when held up to the light. A thin tan head was produced that dissipated rather quickly to a collar of foam. The nose was of dark fruit and malts with light hops in the background. The taste is rich, sweet malt dominated, caramel, toasty and 'chocolately' with just enough light hops at the finish to keep things balanced, The mouth feel is smooth, medium-full bodied and a little sticky. The carbonation is medium.

Overall, dangerously drinkable and not too filling, Not as hoppy as the 'usual' Lagunitas beers...not being a hop head I like that.

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Photo of Ozzylizard
4.19/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

$ 4.50/25.4 oz bottle + $ 2.68 shipping = $ 0.326/oz from Blackwell’s Wines and Spirits, SF CA
Undated bottle at 42 degrees into hand washed and dried JK snifter, allowed to warm to 50 degrees
Aroma of malt
Head average (Three cm, aggressive pour), off white/light tan, creamy with rocks, diminishing to an irregular eight to ten mm rocky ring with legs and a thin layer with a rocky island
Lacing excellent – complete rings of tiny bubbles
Body dark amber, clear
Flavor malty but not oppressively so. No hops, no alcohol, no diacetyl.
Palate medium, creamy, soft carbonation.

Appearance 4.25, Aroma 4, Flavor 4.25, Palate 4.25, Overall 4.25

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Photo of rob99er
4.5/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I loved this strong ale. Not a tongue buckler like Bastard, but that was fine by me. I was in the mood for a lighter strong ale. Very tasty and I'm going to get another bottle. Highly recommend.

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Photo of Wiffler27
4.27/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

pours a dark red/brown with a thick creamy head.

smell is sweet yet mild. not overpowering. a tamed down version of Brown Shugga's aroma.

taste is sweet, some bitterness at the end. an easy drinker, not a thick body. goes down smooth, finishes sweet and bitter. much sweeter than any other strong ale i've ever had. not a bad taste but a little thin and maybe too sweet. hides the 9.1% very well!

overall this is good, not bad but maybe too sweet for my taste. a nice strong ale for sure!

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Photo of BeerDocT
4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

"Ragwater, bitters and blue ruin." Any beer that quotes Tom Waits on the label can't be bad. Or can it? Read on... .

Appearance 4.0: Pours out an attractive chestnut brown. Translucent with no particulates. OK head (1/4"). Decent lacing.

Smell 4.0: Good bouquet, but overall subdued. Kind of a sweet, boozy scent to this baby.

Taste 4.55: Front is surprisingly dry. Middle is sweet and that's about it. Finish is where a very nice slightly smoky/ caramely taste overwhelms your taste buds. Also, there's a nice, light, hoppiness here; reminds me of a good Belgian Dubble. Also some biscuit malt detectable. Aftertaste is slightly grassy, but smooth and cleansing after the big Finish.

Mouthfeel 4.5: Mouthfeel is a little watery, but this actually serves to minimize the "burn" from all the booze in this brew. Otherwise smooth and enjoyable.

Overall 4.25: Big, bold and beautiful, this brew will knock you on your keister. No alcohol burn, but this beer packs a big wallop. No wonder they quote a Tom Waits song on the label: you'll be growling and pounding the ground, singing about meeting the Devil like Ol' Tom does if you drink more than one of these! Recommended for men that can hold their liquor and women who can't ;)

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Photo of Wer34truh
3.74/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Has a opaque brown color, with a tiny head.

The smell is of heavy malts, caramel, distinct notes of malts, and fruit sweetness.

The taste is not at all as bitter as the smell, on the contrary, it's quite sweet, Notes of brown sugar, dominant malts, and fruits. Mouthfeel is easy to drink, with low carbonation.

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Photo of zac16125
4.01/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

22oz bottle into a snifter
no bottling dates, presumably most recent vintage

A: Nice clear dark ruby color with large tan head that dissipates slowly and leaves tons of lacing. Beautiful beer. 4.75

S: Not what I expected in the aroma. Kind of a smokey malt, very subtle hops, lots of booze, subtle caramel malts. Not bad but a bit harsh. 3.75

T: More sweetness than the nose, lots of caramel/toffee, a bit sugary, some booze to balance out the sweetness. 4

M/D: Full bodied, carbonation on the heavier end but not bad, ABV is very well masked and drinkability is quite good. 4.25

O: Nothing spectacular but a solid beer at a fantastic price means its something I would gladly drink again. 4

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Hairy Eyeball Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
3.86 out of 5 based on 2,651 ratings.
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