The Hairy Eyeball | Lagunitas Brewing Company

BA SCORE
87
very good
2,754 Ratings
THE BROS
-
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The Hairy EyeballThe Hairy Eyeball
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Lagunitas Brewing Company
California, United States
lagunitas.com

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.10%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 01-12-2002

BEER STATS
Ratings:
2,754
Reviews:
973
Avg:
3.86
pDev:
11.4%
 
 
Wants:
79
Gots:
504
For Trade:
2
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,754 |  Reviews: 973
Photo of Sammy
3.59/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Volo had 7.3% a.b.v. on their menu, but there was more of a 9% presence here. Brownish with a mocha head, significant head and lace, overflowing bottle a bit like Belgians do once the bottle was opened. Horrible aroma, fishy and like someone sweaty had drunk from this glass just prior. Not like to think about that. Pefectly served at Volo at just under room temperature and enjoyed on their deck. Smooth, creamy, refreshing, full mouthfeel. Hops came at you more and more, but carbonation was not overbearing rather drying. Spicy hop aftertaste.Had two years later, aroma quite passable and so an upgrade.

 607 characters

Photo of acurtis
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%

Photo of Texasfan549
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of GRG1313
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of kylehay2004
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of jaydoc
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of spycow
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear copper with a foamy khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, caramel, slight fruit, and alcohol aromas. Taste is much the same with strong malt and slight caramel flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of toasty bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with a strong emphasis on the malt aspect all around.

 537 characters

Photo of djrn2
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.83/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

awfully good beer for the price right here, under 5 bucks a bottle, this strong, impressive from the brewery who always frustrates me with the same yeast profile. its not so evident in this one, more of a belgian or a high gravity ale yeast profile, clean and highly attenuated stuff, not the usual from these guys on the yeast front, finally. not as dark as expected in color, looks like an english nut brown, smallish head too is short lived. the nose is caramel heavy, with some cherry and banana yeast notes, as well as some medium roast cocoa and a little residual sugar. the flavor is beautifully rich, a nice juxtaposition to its appearance, with heavy burnt or burning sugar flavors and a vanilla candy finish. great bubbles and i can still taste the grain, which makes this for me. confused on the yeast front, which is better than the typical lagunitas safe realm, but its undecided. shockingly strong, i would have guessed 7% abv before i saw the label. not sure how they can keep putting out beer this good for such a fair price, but the more of these bombers the better. great stuff, really.

 1,104 characters

Photo of kjkinsey
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of t0rin0
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of Knapp85
3.8/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This one poured out as a reddish brown colored ale. The head was white and foamy looking and leaving just a touch of lacing behind on the glass. The smell of the beer is a little sweet and a little fruity, it's got a little bit of everything going on in there. The taste is kind of the same way in my opinion. I'm not sure exactly what they're going for here but it's interesting. The mouthfeel was drinkable, decent carbonation and nicely balanced. Overall I'd like to have this one again one day just to give it another shot. Perhaps I'd enjoy it even more the second time around.

 582 characters

Photo of nmann08
3.76/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%

Photo of metter98
3.78/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured very dark amber with a little beige-colored head.
S: There are moderate aromas of roasted malts with notes of dark fruits and sweetness.
T: It definitely tastes like a strong beer and the flavors are dominated by the malts. There is also some bitterness from the hops and hints of caramel, raisins and spices.
M: The beer feels medium-bodied on the palate and somewhat syrupy and sticky.
D: This is a beer that really needs to be sipped, although the alcohol is masked rather well. I couldn't see having more than one of these in a single sitting.

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Photo of oriolesfan4
4.23/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lagunitas... one of my favorite breweries. Not only are their beers all delicious and consistent, but they are all high ABV and well priced too... (usually like 8.99 or 9.99 a 6 pack or 3.99 a bomber) This beer is no exception, pours a nice dark red/brown. Tons of lacing and good head retention, sexy. On the light bodied side, very sweet taste to it. Sort of took me by surprise but it had a nice mouthfeel to it. Very hoppy but well balanced with the sweetness. Some alcohol taste kicks in at the end, but it has a nice warming appeal to it. The sweetness was a tad bit too present for me, but other than that this is a great beer... here's lookin atcha!

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.04/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

In the world where brandy flavor meets ale, that's where the Hairy Eyeball lives. Shying slightly from the hop-forward taste of most American Strong Ales, Lagunitas prefers more English flavor with a complex malt backbone and a few of those intangible savory "Olde Ale" notes.

The ale kicks off with a highly frothy pour. A slow separation occurs as the dense foam cap pulls patiently away from the bready body beneath. Its russet brown body is given a mysterious and masculine color because of the hazy veil that the lightly filtered ale projects. Its strong retention leads to a host of lacing patterns that's left behind on the glass.

Its malty-rich aromas calls all the sweet tooth's out there with heavy toffee, molasses, buckwheat honey and nutty brittle. A mix of vinous and dark, stone fruits give a hint of sherry and brandy to richer and earthier sweetnesses of date, apple, fig, plumb, prune and raisin. Herbal and piney hops offer a tepid balance to the sweetness but never attempts to match its intensity.

Bready-sweet throughout, the beer greets the palate with a sense of rum cake, coffee cake and fruit cake as the malty-rich taste saturates the taste buds with the same molasses, toffee and honey flavors of the nose. But a toasty, nutty and "cake-like" tone sheds light on mild coffee and chocolate tastes that lurk closely behind. As the ale develops mild tartness, its alcohol turns sherry-like with drunken grapes, cherries and apples; along with a pleasant vinous acidity. There's just enough resinous hop bite to keep the beer from cloying though its bitterness is simply a prop.

Full bodied without question, the beer's moderate carbonation allows the malt richness to lay weightily on the tongue for full saturation of sweetness. Its creaminess is slow to dissolve and the ale lumbers toward a malty-sweet finish and a long linger of toffee, fruit and alcohol spice.

The Hairy Eyeball is a highly decadent ale that doesn't simply pair well with cake desserts, it serves to replace them altogether. Accompaniments of stilton, dried fruit and assorted nuts would make for the most divine closure to any premium dinner.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz single bottle - now I kind of miss the nonsensical label edge ramblings from the bigger Lagunitas offerings.

This beer pours a clear, very dark chestnut brown colour, with orange brick highlights, and one finger of weakly puffy, and silken foamy beige head, which leaves a scattered web of curlicue lace around the glass in its brief wake.

It smells of toasty caramel malt, candy sugar, mild pine/citrus hops, a tame oily nuttiness, and a subtly metallic alcohol burn. The taste is big caramel, toffee and treacle-flecked malt, vanilla and citrus cream, brown sugar (or should that be 'shugga?), ethereal (read: weak) mocha notes, wet piney hops, and soft warming alcohol.

The carbonation is quite understated, and barely supportive, the body just slightly short of full weight, with a nicely rounded smoothness. It finishes quite off-dry, the well-established sugary malt persisting, amongst a somewhat lamely tugging and blended hop bitterness, and some middling astringent heat.

Seems like I've seen this all before from this brewery, but I'm not really complaining - not about a solid, strong west coast ale. Well, maybe the booze isn't quite as well integrated as it usually is, but that's just splitting hairs. I could see hitting a sixer of these, if perchance, I wanted to get my drink on, and yet at the same time enjoy it all the way through.

 1,363 characters

Photo of SocalKicks
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%

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.

B-

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Photo of brentk56
3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Pours a clear russet brown color with an impressive head that delivers a few strands of lace

Smell: Caramel and spice cake aromatics

Taste: The caramel and spice cake flavors jut out to the front, with some piney hops building in the middle; tobacco flavors and some medicinal elements arrive after the swallow though the finish is overly sweet

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with moderate carbonation

Overall: The flavors don't integrate particularly well and the finish is a bit too sweet; not a bad beer but below the top echelon for the style

 554 characters

Photo of emerge077
3.58/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours into a highball glass a deep chestnut brown, with a slight reddish tint. Tan foam, small head, laces a little bit.

Aroma is malty, with a little raisiny sweetness.

Hop bitterness shows up in the taste, but any hop flavor/aroma is buried under a bucketload of dark caramel malt and molasses flavor. Alcohol is readily apparent. Mouthfeel had a little creaminess to it, but wasn't huge. Worth a try, but I won't look for it again.

Tried this for $4.75 at Four Moon Tavern in Chicago.

 492 characters

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of Secret Santa: Poured a deep dark brown color ale with an average foamy head with average retention and no lacing. Aroma of big caramel malt is quite imposing and dominating. Taste is also dominated by some heavy caramel malt with some notes of bitter hops. Lacking some floral or citrus notes with not as much hops as I was expecting considering the brewery. Full body with average carbonation and no discernable alcohol. This one was a bit of a surprise considering the lack of hops (yes there is a lot but not as much as I would expect from Lagunitas) but the malt was very efficient.

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Photo of largadeer
2.86/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Appearance - Dark brown but not completely opaque. A strong pour provided very little head, but what does appear manages to last for a decent amount of time.

Smell - Toasted malt, caramel, roasted nuts. Faintly noticeable alcohol. The toast aroma really dominates everything here, but it's nice and appropriately wintry.

Taste/mouthfeel - Alcoholic sweetness mixed with toasty, roasty bitterness. Caramel-coated nuts. Full-bodied with fairly low carbonation. Hops come out a bit in the finish, but are rather subdued; they're used to accent the flavor rather than define it.

Notes - A decent beer, but I do have one problem with it: it's entirely too strong for its depth of flavor. If I'm drinking a 9% beer, I want it to be complex; something to savor and sip slowly. The simple, sessionable flavors of this beer don't work with its high ABV. Bigger is not always better, guys.

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The Hairy Eyeball from Lagunitas Brewing Company
3.86 out of 5 based on 2,754 ratings.
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