The Hairy Eyeball | Lagunitas Brewing Company

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The Hairy EyeballThe Hairy Eyeball

Brewed by:
Lagunitas Brewing Company
California, United States

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

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Reviews: 971 | Ratings: 2,750
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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Photo of tigerbeer90
4.21/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2013 vintage - bottled Dec 2012. Never had this fresh, so factor that in.

A: Beautiful copper/ruby hue. Looks a lot like SN Bigfoot
S: A bit muted after 3 years, but caramel, raisin, apricot
T: Similar to an old ale or an aged barleywine. Lots of malt with some dark fruits coming through, slight alcohol. As it comes up a bit in temp, the alcohol and dark fruits kind of have a rum soaked raisin taste going on.
M: Thinner than I thought at 9%, but that's a good thing. With some of these sweeter beers (unless it's an imperial stout) I prefer a less syrupy feel, just my opinion.
O: As I said, never had this fresh but bought it with some age on it hoping it would be like an aged SN Bigfoot. It is very similar, maybe a bit less balanced but very nice. An interesting beer that I may need to try fresh once, but have a feeling this is the best way to try it.

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Photo of hardysf
3.53/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

Don't know about this beer. Didn't know what I was buying as there is no info about type of beer on label. Just og, and ibu and the high abv lagunitas is infamous for. I was expecting a old ale, barleywine, etc.

Pours a dark brown, mahogany maybe. Lots of head that dies, but enough carb stays throughout the beer with some nice lacing. The aroma is a miss. Smells like old dirty bar. I'd guess maybe a lager yeast was used.

Taste is a little better. Roasted malt, caramel, and molasses. Maybe a hint of brown sugar. Maybe a little overly sweet for my liking. No standout flavor, and the stale beer/ old macro brew flavor is present. I'm curious if lager yeast was used.

The mouthfeel is good. But lagunitas is so well developed, that's to be expected. Sticky and coating the mouth. I kept drinking it but couldn't explain why...

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Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
3.56/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Gorgeous mahogany clear body, plenty of carbonation, with good off-white head and lace. Nose is naught but a lot of booze and almost-warm caramel/raisin. The flavor is reminiscent of a quadrupel, but with much more poorly hidden alcohol. Dried fruit, raisin, toffee, mild hop bitterness. Full body, slightly sticky.
Not especially tasty, but not bad or flawed. Too big for its britches.

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

Enjoyed form the 22 oz bomber in a snifter. This SOLID strong ale pours a dark brownish red with a decent head of off white foam that settles to a thin ring, subtle layer, and light lacing. Nose of sweet brown sugar, heavy breaded malts, and the signature hop notes from Lagunitas that feature pine and citrus. Flavors exceed the nose with rich breaded notes covered in caramel on the front and sides. Sweetness gives way in the middle to moderately heavy citrus notes of pineapple and cherry mixed with pine. Citrus and pine notes then mingle together with strong alcohol on the back giving strong heat. Slick and coating sweetness with a medium high level of carbonation aiding in cutting through the strong sweetness. An excellent malt bomb with a medium bitter hop aftertaste.

Excellent for the malt lover......which I am.


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Photo of Gobearswalter34
3.27/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Pours a brownish-red with a one finger, off-white head with little carbonation. Not a big smell, just sweet.
Taste like f dark fruits especially cherry, malt, toffee, slightly cough syrup due to alcohol burn. Hop bite as well. Taste lingers. Mouthfeel not great, cherry is most pleasant. My least favorite from the great Lagunitas.

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Photo of EMV
4.23/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bomber into a tulip glass.

L: Pours a semi-transparent copper/mahogany color. 2 fingers of creamy off-white head take awhile to fall away.

S: Toasted malts, grains and brown sugar... hops of course (this is a Lagunitas beer after all).

T/F: Delicious flavor... complex malts and sugars without being sweet. Molassas and faintly spicy. That hits the palate first, followed by the classic Lagunitas hop profile with floral and citrusy hops. Finishes clean and medium in body. Good carbonation. Sticky and chewy in mouthfeel.

O: If you enjoy Lagunitas beers... you'll like 'Hairy Eyeball' as their classic flavor is all over this beer. Tasty and delicious, and a 'big beer'.

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

I found the new label with a different ABV than the other listing. I have the 9.10% so I chose to review here. I assume the recipe is slightly different now.

Pours a dark brown with a slightly creamy head.
Smells very malty, bready, sugary..

Tastes very sweet, malt bomb, almost caramel/butterscotch like in the aftertaste.
Has great retention, that foamy/creamy head is still there.
So full, I don't think I can drink more than this bomber.

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Photo of Viaduck
3.92/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Nice red color & a big, long lasting head. Smells hoppy. Tastes sweet, not bitter. I'm not a fan of IPA's but I do like sweet. I like the battle & balance of sweetness & hops here. Pretty good

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Photo of HopHunter19
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - beautiful copper clear colored beer with a nice off white head that leaves great lacing
S - pine, earthy hops, bready malts, caramel, sugar, little bit of orange
T - piney and earthy hops, bready malts, caramel, sugar, citrus rind, grapefruit bitterness, like a malty east coast ipa kinda
M - light to medium mouthfeel, alc covered, aftertaste is caramel malts and mild citrus rind bitterness, with some bready flavors in there too
O - big beer. It's a lot better with a year or more of age on it though. this guy was bottled the 322 day of 15 and drank the 352 day of 15, so only 30 days old.

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Photo of stevoj
3.62/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Aroma is rather faint, but taste makes up for that with a full on malt and hops assault. Medium brown with silky beige head, nutty, malty flavor with a nice hops tang on the finish. this is a really delicious beer. Slight warmth from the alcohol, but not overpowering

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Photo of Flounder57
4.02/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle was poured into a snifter.

Appearance: A one finger off white head was poured that reduced to a thin layer. It is an amber crimson color with good clarity and vision of tiny bubbles coming up through the glass. Spotty lacing down the glass as the beer was drank.

Smell: Toasted, biscuity, doughy, caramel, toffee, a l8ttl ed booze, and grassy hops.

Taste: Same as above. Chewy characteristics, booze, and light bitterness in the rear.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, a little chewy, medium bodied, slight bitterness, light boozy notes, and medium carbonation.

Overall: This beer is a mixture between a doppelbock and altbier. Very good combination, drinkable, and enjoyable.

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Photo of HopsAreDaMan
4.14/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber, one-year old (I did a side-by-side tasting comparison of the one-year old with a fresh bottle). I will select the rating to be counted based on the one-year old vintage, and record below the rating of the fresh as 'Fresh: < numerical rating >'

Look: They both pour exactly the same: an incredibly clear amber, with a nice amount of frothy beige head that last about a minute, and both have nice lacing. Fresh: 4

Smell: The one-year has quite a bit going on, strong aromas especially of dark fruits; the fresh doesn't have much aroma, perhaps a bit of malts, but that's about it. Fresh: 3.5

Taste: one-year has strong flavor of dark fruits (reminding me somewhat of a Belgian dark strong ale), and surprisingly, there is still plenty of hop flavor here; I also get a bit of what I believe is the wet cardboard flavor (I am assuming from the oxidation). The fresh has a reasonable amount of malts and hops, and is tasty, but it clearly lacks the complexity of the one-year. Fresh: 3.75

Feel: Generally speaking, both have a medium body, with a nice enough finish. Fresh: 3.75

Overall: The one-year vintage has more complexity in the aroma and in the taste that the fresh, and that is what I am looking for in a big beer. For both vintages, I agree what another review wrote: "... full of flavor without being too sticky sweet." Fresh: 3.75

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Photo of sjccmd
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Birghty, fruity aroma. Spicy and slightly minty. Sweet molasses bread. Dark fruits. Plums, raisins, and candied fruit. Cinnamon and other baking spices.

Clear ruby amber with a very light tan head. Decent retention and lacing.

Rich caramel malt, honey, and dark fruit. Citrus and bitter hops. Toasted rye bread. Rich, somewhat sweet. Sticky but not cloying.

Medium heavy body and medium light carbonation. Big and mouthfilling. Finish is mostly dry with some lingering sweetness.

Difficult to evaluate based on any kind of style, but it is full of flavor without being too sticky sweet.

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Photo of Dvanistan
4.29/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I dont regularly opt for a non-IPA, but then again, you really cant go wrong with Lagunitas (which btw has changed the label/cover art for this particular brew. Much improved, too.)

It's a little sweet. But not too sweet. I doubt you'd be able to take more than a single 22 oz. Any more may leave a bad aftertaste. Besides, it's pretty heavy on the booze.

It goes down surprisingly well for a brew that exceeds 9%

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Photo of babaracas
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Haven't had this one in years, good for a re-review. Pours a medium dark red-orange-brown... let's call it a pleasant rust color, clear with a thick cap of cream colored foam, much of which spider-webs its way down the glass. Smell: dark brown sugar, date bread, notes of prune, candied orange-ish, pecan-ish... liquid fruitcake. Taste: more balanced here... loads of caramel, dates, anise, note of cooked peach, piney and earthy hopping teams up with a boozy note to cut through. Full-ish bodied, creamy feel with a hop, sugar, and booze strewn finish befitting the label.

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Photo of spoony
3.78/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

From a 650 ml bottle to a tulip.

A-A normal pour produces about a finger of light-tan head. The head drops quickly to a cap and leaves a stray bit of lace on the glass. The beer is dark amber in color and nearly clear.

S-The aroma is heavy on the malt with suggestions of barley grain and toffee. Alcohol makes a strong showing and is lightly spicy, especially as it warms up. Not much in the way of hops here, just a vague, earthy, leafy note.

T-The taste tracks the smell pretty closely, i.e., lots of malts with barley, toffee, and cocoa powder notes. Some vague bitter, leafy hops on the finish, and a good kick of spicy alcohol provide a little balance to the sweetness of the malt.

M-The body is medium in heft with a persistent, prickly carbonation that breaks up the sweetness of the beer nicely.

O-This beer is OK, but nothing I would search out again. It reminds me of a strong Scotch ale or wee heavy. Not a bad beer on a chilly December evening, but nothing terribly unique or memorable is happening here.

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

So... Another solid ale from Lagunitas. A little sweet for my taste and for copious consumption. However, goes down way to easy for the 9% it clocks in at. I would do it again, but not seek it out.

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Photo of ThaneMcC
4.38/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark, reddish brown with copious off white head and solid lacing. Smells strongly of sweet malt, almost like barley wine, molasses, dark fruit (prune/dates). Tastes strong, sweet malts forward, molasses, vanilla, caramel, metallic tang mid note and very mild hoppy note at the end leading to a fairly clean finish. A little sticky textured, medium bodied with minimal effervescence.
Overall, very sweet but well balanced beer – a good winter warmer with its abv of 9.1% - not quite a desert beer – but the palate is more towards the malty/sweet side of the spectrum. Would make a great beer to sip by the fire, or perhaps as either an aperitif or digestif following a good meal.
Another solid offering from Lagunitas

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Photo of Furlinator
3.93/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours from the bottle a cloudy dark brown. The thin khaki head quickly disappears completely. The taste is dominated by caramel malt with just enough hop presence to keep it balanced. Nothing groundbreaking or innovative, just a tasty brew.

Thanks to Mike Martinez for this one.

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

Appearance: dark copper in color with a very thick frothy head. After a while it slowly dissipated, leaving a film of foam at the surface. Little lacings around the glass.

Aroma: aroma reminds me of tapioca pudding, some vanilla; smells like liquid dessert.

Taste: its sweet and hoppy. More like a barley wine than a strong ale but just not so complex. There's the bitter earthiness from the hops and the burnt brown sugar. But it ends there. There is a slight cough syrup quality as the ere warms up.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied, carbonation perfect.

Overall: not a complex beer but a straightforward hoppy sweet beer.

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Photo of BigDaddyWarbuxx
3.79/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Very surprised by the level of sweetness here. A decent level of alcohol present in the flavor, but not too bad. Mild enough for the alcohol content.

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The Hairy Eyeball from Lagunitas Brewing Company
3.86 out of 5 based on 2,750 ratings.
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