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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:
User Reviews
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Reviews: 957 | Ratings: 2,647
Photo of Apellonious
4.04/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle, day 328, 14, poured into a tulip glass.

A - Dark ruby, half finger head, decent lace retention.

S - Dark fruit, booze, candied sugar, cellar

T - Some faint hop bite, mainly brown sugar, carmel malts, dark fruit and booze.

M - Dense. Carbonation starts off medium high, fades to alnost nothing, gets sticky.

O - Went to a Japanese steakhouse, had some Sakie sprayed in my eye, so I figured...Hairy Eyeball for dessert.

 438 characters

Photo of coltonbrimhall
4.33/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

- dark ale with a nice light brown head
- burnt hop scent slight caramelized
- smooth almost stout like body with mellow burnt hops
-thicker feel but no porter or stout
- great buy great dark ale

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Photo of guityler83
4.19/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

bottled 02/28 ?
A: A finger and a half of light pink head made of smaller sized bubbles and a soapy appearance. Good foam stand - long retention. A very clear beer, dark ruby to burgundy red color. A Swirl kicks up some lacing and legs and leaves behind a chaotic streaking of bubbles on the edge of the teku.

S: Malt driven aroma with Munich malt toastiness, dates, caramel and darker bread crust and melenoidins. A moderate herbal, earthy hop aroma with a light citrus note. No alcohol. a mild fruity (apple) yeast ester quality. Reminds me of an english barley wine with an interesting lager like character from the munich.

T: Rich malt character from start to finish. Caramel and toffee, toasted bread and prunes. Sweetness is mild and balances with the herbal hop bitterness and flavor. A light chocolate note comes through as the beer warms up (a similar flavor I get from scotch ales). It reminds me of a Bock mixed with a scotch ale with amped up hoppiness.

M: Smooth mouthfeel. Mild alcohol warming in the chest with moderate carbonation. Body is big but it finishes clean and nearly dry.

O: Not a beer I would have on a regular basis but I did find this very drinkable at 9%+. And the malt flavor coming through was very rich and smooth. Again it was very Bock like with a bit of an edge to it.

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

The beer poured a deep ruby red to copper with a full and creamy head that left great lacing. The sweet malty aroma held a bit of fruit as well as a slight roast. The taste was very malt forward with a burnt bitterness underneath. There were notes of caramel, brown sugar and dark fruit with some fruity hops for good measure. It left a lingering bitterness on my tongue from a combo of the roasty malts and fruity hops. The Hairy Eyeball is not as hop forward as most of the Lagunitas brews but the hops play second fiddle to the big malty sweetness. A different and dynamic beer all around that has a good balance of sweetness with a touch of hops. While it was slightly boozy at the start, the booziness dissipated as it warmed and the creamy chewy body really became a deliciously easy drinker.

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Photo of KTCamm
3.84/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

3/26....pours reddish amber. Low foam, light on the bottom. Sweet caramel nose, bready, light cherry nose. Taste opens sweet, some astringent flavors. Borders on barleywine. Sharp bitter. Boozy. Very flavorful, but almost a wine/wiskey taste.

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Photo of RyanK252
4.19/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle poured into a Lagunitas mason jar

A: Pours deep ruby brown with a creamy khaki head that settles and laces well.

S: Caramel toffee dark sugar sweetness, dried fruit, fig raisin and cherry, and a hint of alcohol.

T: Roasted malt, rich caramel toffee dark sugar sweetness, dried fruit, fig raisin plumb and cherry, cola, licorice, bready, maybe some coffee and faint chocolate notes, earthy, hint of pine, a bit spicy, and a touch of alcohol on the back end, though not unpleasant.

M: Medium to full body, moderate carbonation, a little alcohol warmth.

O: Big decadent complex brew. I'm a fan.

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Photo of richj1970
4.02/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 22 oz bomber into snifter. Very faint date on neck suggests it was bottled Nov 2014.

A: Deep brown with reddish tint. Two to three finger light tan head with nice retention and plenty of sticky lacing.

S: Caramel, butterscotch, and brown sugar. Some dark fruits - plum and raisin. Some hints of earthy hops.

T: Rich sweet malts and dark fruits with a small hint of hops lingering in the back. Reminds me a bit of a Scotch Ale.

M: Full bodied but not thick. Finish is a little sweet.

O: Tatsty brew. An easy drinking sipper at an excellent price point.

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Photo of ricke49
4.47/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

excellent offering from Lagunitas. "Strong Ale" just about sums it up. The balance between a barleywine style sweetness and a more hoppy offering is near-perfect. Great sipper. Lagunitas strikes again with a budget priced high ABV quality offering.

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Photo of DKMII
4.43/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Good clarity, dark reddish hue. Nice lacing with a medium head with strong retention. Sweet malt smell. Yeasty smell and fruity.
Taste is a funky sweet malt with light hop tones. A very sweet finish. Thick feel on tongue. Strong malty feel

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

Look: clear chestnut brown, no head, thin lacing around the rim.

Smell: Not much of a bouquet, hints of dark roasted malty sweetness.

Taste: Very nice alcohol warmth, a brown sugary raisin sorta mash-up but not overly sweet.

Feel: Full bodied, smooth, warm.

 260 characters

Photo of Zach136
4.14/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance: Deep amber bordering on red. Nice rocky tan head. Good lacing.

Aroma/Flavor: Big caramel and toast notes. No booze on the nose, and it's pretty well hidden on the palate.

Mouthfeel: Medium+ bodied, easy to drink.

Overall: Still don't know that i'm a huge fan of the "Strong Ale" but this one is definitely growing on me.

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Photo of nate_nate_nate
4.69/5  rDev +21.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Had no expectations and was blown away. It's a fraction crisper than the best scotch ale out there (Bellhaven Wee Heavy). Taste is malty, caramel sublime.

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Photo of kraytb
4.73/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 5

Beautiful Taste, Wasn't sure what to expect when cracking open this beauty. Smooth and Flavorful, Low key Soy Sauceish taste but I love it. Can't wait to purchase it again!

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

Had this Hairy Eyeball at Coach's Bar in Stevensville, Michigan on 3/5/15. Wow! Delicious on tap. Was pleasantly surprised at how smooth and flavorful it was! The 16 oz glass was $5.50. Great price in my book.
UPDATE: Got a 22 ounce bomber from Lambrecht's in Stevensville, Michigan for $4.99. Still very good. Probably about a 4.00, but not as good as on tap.

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

Sampling right now on 2/26/15. Comes in a single 22 ounce bottle with a nice painted on label, as all of their brew have. Bottle chilled down to 36 degrees F in my beer cooler and poured in to a 20 ounce French Jelly handled-glass stein.

Pours a pretty mahogany brown in color with about a 1-finger foamy beige head. A good amount of sticky lacing is seen when sipped that sticks to the glass. The aroma is of burnt brown sugar for the most part. The taste is pretty much the same actually with some roasted malts also with some spice. You really don't taste the alcohol in it. It will hit you after awhile though. Goes down pretty easy but is more of a sipper kind of brew then say, a chugging for sure. Not really much of a bitter or harsh aftertaste, or is the brew talking? ;) Medium-bodied with perfect carbonation. You aren't drinking more than one of these at a sitting at all Overall, I liked it.

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Photo of vette2006c5r
4.33/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Hairy Eyeball pours a dark amber color with a large lacing head. There is a sweet, marshmellow like aroma. The taste is also sweet, nice malty backbone with sweet dry fruit flavors. Great body great flavors. Overall a great drinkable complex beer.

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Photo of hreb
4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle served in pub glass. Beer is crimson in color with a moderate tan head, and pours very syrupy. Bold malt aroma. Flavor is rich, simultaneously sweet and bitter on opposite ends of my palate. This is obviously a strong ale (this year's label says 9.1%), but there's no ethanol burn, just strong flavors. And it's not afraid to put some IBUs in there too. American barleywine, perhaps?

I'm really enjoying the balance of this and I have to say I think it's seriously underrated.

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Photo of RickS95
4.5/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The pour is a relatively clearish burgundy brown color. The color of a red wine, but on the clear side. The head slowly forms and when it does, it's a glorious sight of foamy peaks. Off white in color, this thing retains for quite a while. On the sides, a lovely sticky lace.

A malt bomb. Lots of dark malts that present an almost fruity scent as it warms. A hint of brown sugar in the nose. Not much in the way of hops and despite the load of malts and high ABV, there's not much alcohol scent.

This thing packs a flavor punch. All the malts come together and provide a boatload of earthy, grainy flavors. Kind of a toast, bready flavor with a splash of dark ripe fruit and an earthy taste from the hops.

It was still a little on the cold side when I had this, but it's got a nice balance between sweet up front and bitter in the finish. Again, the alcohol is never a bully, only making a cameo in warming, lingering finish. Despite the clearish complexion, it's full bodied and a bit on the creamy side.

Overall, this is top notch. For something so high in ABV, it's exceptionally easy to drink and goes down a bit too easy giving how strong it is. I bought bombers of this for $6 a piece. I stole them.

 1,225 characters

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

Aight. It IS boozy though. Label says "perihelial release"-- not sure what that means.

perihelial: noun, plural perihelia [per-uh-hee-lee-uh, -heel-yuh]. Astronomy
1. the point in the orbit of a planet or comet at which it is nearest to the sun.

Still not entirely sure

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Photo of Phigg1102
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Deep mahogany color with a thin beige. Caramel aroma with hints of apple and cherry (edit for 2015 version: same basic aromas but with much less intensity, this one probably needs to develop for awhile).More caramel and apple in the taste with a deep toasted malt character. Floral hop notes in the taste as well. Medium to full bodied, lemony astringency from the hops. Finishes quite bitter but doesn't last too long.

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Photo of brewskifan55
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a plastic cup at Mardi Gras.

A: Opaque dark brown with a billowy mocha colored 2 finger head that lasts. Thick lacing.

S: Dark fruits slide in with cherries, caramel and molasses bringing up the rear.

T: Follows nose with a Strong Ale sweetness. Cherries and caramel lead the dance. A terrific sipper. Even better as it warms.

M: Medium to heavy with medium, chewy carbonation.

O: An eyeball opening sweetheart of a beer. Another great (and affordable) treat from Lagunitas.

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Photo of Bone53
4.29/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Clear brown color with a beautiful mahogony hue when put up to the light, along with a two finger light tan head

Smell: Predominantly sweet malts (toffee, caramel, molasses, brown sugar) along with a hint of semi dark fruits

Taste: Again, a ton of those sweet malts upfront; In the middle i get more of that dark fruit, and the hops come out in the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium body; Smooth and easy drinking considering the abv. Being from Lagunitas, im not the least bit surprised.

Overall: This is a very solid strong ale/old ale. Its not as rich and complex as my favorites in the style, but its very tasty nonetheless. I dont get much alcohol at all as many on here suggest. Im impressed and think this is underrated, and prefer it to Brown Shugga.

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Photo of dukeandduke
4.08/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2/4- Mo Dailey's (Norwood Park). I like strong beers, and this draft beer was very strong and I enjoyed this offering a lot. The taste was unique and the beer was very smooth. I really enjoyed the flavor.I will seek out this offering and other Lagunitas beers down the road, and I look forward to my next Hairy Eyeball, well maybe not literally but definitely served by Lagunitas. Well done!

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

Poured a gorgeous clear reddish brown body with a half-finger of off-white head. A very appealing looking rich strong ale. Scents of rich malt, caramel, dark fruit with notes of plum, red cherry, prune and raisin, candied, liquor-soaked fruit and fruitcake. Cherry predominates the fruit aromas with a bready malt aroma also present and hints of brown sugar. Overall impression of aroma is of a sweet, rich, malty beer with a nice rich fruitcake-like aroma lent by the alcohol and the profile of the fruity esters. Quite nice and very appealing as a Winter ale. Flavor begins sweet and malty with notes of caramel, sweet bready malt, fruitcake, cherry, raisin and prune. The middle opens up flavors of alcohol and light chocolate malt flavors. Finish is medium-sweet, with notes of alcohol and dark fruit, with further notes of fruitcake and preserved fruit, but with a light bitterness from roast and toasted malt lending a roasted malt and slightly burnt toast flavor and hints of dark chocolate. Aftertaste is lightly bitter with notes of alcohol, dark chocolate, black coffee and roasted malt. Overall impression of flavor is of a very malt-forward, dark fruit heavy, sweet initial flavor, giving way to a bitter finish that keeps the beer from being cloying. Very nice, warming and pleasant, a good ale for a cold Winter night. Mouthfeel is medium-heavy bodied with medium-light carbonation and a sticky, rich feel. Overall impression of mouthfeel is of a good strong ale, warming, rich and full, but not overwhelming. Overall this is a fantastic strong ale. It has a wonderfully rich and sweet aroma that is a wonderful mix of malt and esters. This carries over into the flavor but is aided by roast malt lending a richer, deeper, darker flavor. The mouthfeel is a nice balance between rich and full, and modest and drinkable. A very fine ale all around and well worth drinking.

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

Overall, a decent beer, but a little boozy for my liking.. You can really tell there is booze in this thing.. Given the price, it's totally worth it for the little bit of boozy feeling you get from it. I think I paid $5 for a bomber.

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Hairy Eyeball Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
3.86 out of 5 based on 2,647 ratings.
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