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 AltBock
3.82/5  rDev -1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. stubby bottle that has a label that has to made out of recycled paper. You can just feel the roughness of the paper. On this label is "Lagunitas" in green letters, the words "The Hairy" in red letters, the word "Eyeball" in gigantic blue letters, and the word "Ale" in red letters. Below the word "eyeball" is of course a picture of an eyeball. It's a blue eye with a small pizza section cut out of it. Must have had a problem with the printer. Below the blue eyeball is the caption "Here's Lookin' Atcha'!" If you very closely below the caption you can spot the O.G., ABV%, and IBU numbers. In the top right hand corner you can spot the Lagunitas symbol of a drunk sad dog that looks very similar to the Little Rascals Petey the Dog. To the left of the label is the Government warning and to the right of the label is just the refund prices, net contents, and their saying, "Life is Uncertain. Don't sip." Don't waste your time looking for any kind of date because they it doesn't have one. Capped with a twist off cap.

It was served in a Snifter. This eyeball was a dark chestnut brown with tons of cranberry and ruby red highlights throughout the beer. It only had a small skim of white almost tan colored head of foam that fizzled away into a few white/tan foamy rings and a trace of spotty lace. The smell was very fruity at first. I'm not too sure what kind of fruits were in that jumble. After that there were some notes of raisins, brown sugar, very little toasted malts, and it ended with a pinch of sweet citrus hops. The taste was slightly sweet with a touch of toasted malts, raisins, brown sugar, grapefruit, and it decided to end this taste with a big bang of alcohol soaked dry citrus hops. If you decide to hold the beer in your mouth, the alcohol soaked dry citrus hops keep getting stronger and stronger until you're forced to drink it down. Are they sure that their Hairy Eyeball Ale clocks in at a 9% ABV? If it does, then it really masks it's alcohol content. You better keep your eyeball on this eyeball because if you don't, you'll look like the drunk Lagunitas dog. Here's looking at another one of these!

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Photo of illidurit
3.7/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Rogue pint glass.

A: An extremely deep reddish brown topped by a disappointingly small head for how vigorously I poured it, not even half a finger.

S: As a result of the inadequate head, the smell is lackluster and faint. I can only pick up a bit of brown sugar or caramel. No hops in the nose.

T: Mmm, that's better. The taste saves this beer. Big brown sugar malt with a bit of a citrus hop undercurrent. Molasses and coffee notes. A pinch of spice from the alcohol comes through at the end. Reminiscent of a barleywine.

M: Full and smooth.

D: You can drink these until the 9% abv catches up to you.

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Photo of AChamberlain
4.2/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Damn good brew. I've had this twice recently. Once at the Atlantic Chip Shop and for this review, at the Gate in Park Slope, Brooklyn (both places are owned by the same people). On-tap. Dark brown almost black with a 1/2" head. Since this is my second time having it, I know it will be good. Hoppy aroma. I love that smell. The flavor is sweet and hoppy. Both flavors work really well together. Great balance. Medium to heavy body. Zesty finish. Highly drinkable for such a strong beer.

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Photo of WanderingFool
3.35/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It took me 3 trips to the store to finally grab a six pack of Hairy Eyeball. This time it was I who grabbed the last bottles of this beer.

Hairy Eyeball pours a clear dark mahogany color with a small, creamy tan head on top. The foam dissolves quickly leaving no signs of lace on the glass. An aroma of cherry, raisins, vanilla and medicine greets you before each sip.

Each sip of this medium to full bodied beer is somewhat chewy with a frothy fizz on the palate. The flavor is mainly caramel malt with notes of cherry and raisins. Towards the end some grape notes move in and it finishes with some floral hoppy bitterness to balance out the malt. Once gone some of the sweet malt and cherry flavor lingers on the palate.

This reminds me of a barleywine that isn't overloaded with hops. It's very well balanced, but appears rather flat without any foam or lace.

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Photo of BeerTruth
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a pint glass.

Hairy Eyeball pours a very dark red/amber hue with a beautiful khaki colored head. Lace sticks quite well to the glass and remains at the top throughout tasting. Smell is that of raisins and brown sugar with a hint of caramel. Taste is quite different, some cherries and fig perhaps? Quite balanced with a smooth maltiness that is followed by a mild hop bite. I don't sense much alcohol in the taste or the smell, but I guess everyone is different. Has a crisp zing to it that seems to come from the carbonation. More drinkable than I had anticipated, surely give this one a try if you have the opportunity. Solid work Lagunitas.

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Photo of Metalmonk
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

My first Lagunitas beer, at long last. The label reads 9%, so it seems they've kicked it up a little since the beer was entered onto this site (also bears a different label than the one pictured).

The color on this baby is a beautiful deep burgundy, boasting a modest-sized head that's light tan and retains for a good long while. Several lace patches and splotches appear.

Aroma is brown sugar, molasses, brandy, vanilla, dusty cocoa powder.

Big alcoholic fruits hit the tongue first. Then a little pipe tobacco, bitter dark baking chocolate, caramel, and toffee. A bitter sting, clearly from the hops, comes at you in the finish, balancing out the malty aspects of the beer. A nice warming glow is felt from the alcohol, which mingles well with the other flavors.

Mouthfeel is bright and alive, thanks to ample carbonation. Slippery and full, with plenty of buoyancy.

A definite sipper, this falls somewhere between an old ale and a barleywine in terms of its warming satisfaction and ability to be enjoyed slowly and contemplatively. Can't wait to stock up on more Lagunitas stuff.

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Photo of ultralarry2006
4.13/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle. Leaves less than one finger of a tan colored head that quickly fades to a foam ring at the edges, and not much lacing. Body is dark brown with red highlights.

Smell - raisins, ripe cherries, dark crusted malt bread, and spicy, medicinal alcohol.

Taste - similiar to the smell. Malt bread sweet rolls drizzled with brown sugar and studded with raisins. Cherry cola and lemon/lime soda on the finish and aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - full to medium bodied, occaisionally chewy, and yet, quite fizzy.

Drinkability - this is very good ale, but high abv limits sessionability.

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Photo of marcobrau
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a reddish-brown with a moderate amount of foam that sustains for a few minutes. Sweet praline nose, laced with molasses. Powdery caramel-toffee malt flavors coat the tongue. This is a touch thick up front, but drier in the long, bitter finish. I like how this beer is thick up front and dry and bitter in the finish. I just picked up a single bottle, but I'd try this again in a six-pack next time.

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Photo of warriorsoul
3.89/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Thanks to fitzIPAtrick for handing off this one...been meaning to pick it up.
Rust in color...mahogany highlights with a full finger of light tan head. Lacing is tight, but web-like...recedes rapidly into the brew.
Very inviting in the nose...vanilla, rum soaked raisins, and toasted almonds.
The taste is a slightly smoked, roasty malt bomb that has a gentle sweetness with enough hop bitterness to add some balance.
Slightly phenolic, floral with some grape flavors in the finish.
Thick mouthfeel without being cloying...a bit high on the carbonation. Some of the malty sweetness remains on the pallet into the aftertaste.
Not something I could enjoy beyond a couple pints, but a great way to finish out the season and well received. As usual, a solid offering from the experimental folks at Lag.

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Photo of far333
4.32/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reddish chestnut colored with a dark beige tightly bubbled cap of foam. Needs a vigorous pour to rise up, and recedes pretty quickly. Nearly no lacing.

Inviting aroma of bready malt and brown sugar, some toffee and caramel, and ripe plum.

Very balanced flavors of toasted malt, plum and pear, some subtle raisin, and tart cherry. The alcohol emerges slowly to impart an oaky bourbonesque flavor.

Medium mouthfeel, not too filling, carb tingles in the finish, followed by an alcohol warmth. Finishes crisp, a bit of tannin.

Tremendous beer, very drinkable.

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Photo of bjohnson
3.87/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark tawny brown, burnt auburn color with a thick creamy looking one finger off white colored head. Sticky lacing down the glass. Dark fruits, prunes, figs, burnt sugar, and sweet caramel notes are the first aromas noticed.
Big and deep malty profile. Sweet caramel malt flavors. Thick, creamy, and robust. Malt takes the lead, but it has a surprisingly nice balance. Spicy hops shock the taste buds with a bitterness that lasts into the finish, but hangs around as a supporting cast member. Little bubbly carbonation is spritzy on the tip of the tongue. An interesting offering from Lagunitas. Definitely enjoyable, but not one I'd go after every day. Abv is up there, but not very apparent in the tastes, so watch out!

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Photo of EStreet20
3.61/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle poured into a snifter glass.

A - Deep, deep dark reddish brown color with a nice two finger off white head. Great look overall.

S - Alcohol and fruit flavors come through. Some sugary sweetness.

T - Lots of alchohol and some sugary flavors. Some hops for balance would improve this one.

M - A nice medium body.

D - Not bad to sip on but not as in your face as some American Strongs (IE Arrogant Bastard) and not as smooth as some others (IE Gordon or Hibernation Ale).

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

12 fl oz brown bottle, served in a snifter.

Deep garnet-caramel in color beneath a faint, off-white head that settles quickly to a filmy sheet. Thin and spotted lacing with pretty decent stick.

Sugar-enhanced molasses, caramel, heavy cream; caramelized brown sugar for sure. Raisin, plum, and dried nuts. Floral hops amidst the creamy background.

Heavy cream, caramel, and faint toffee; sweet, brown sugar that adds to the malt's creaminess. Dark fruit hidden in the malt background: raisin, date, plum. Moderate bristle of earthen hops and a hint of pepper prior to a warm, slightly intense rush of alcohol.

Full bodied; creamy, spicy, and slick with a nice sense of balance. The textures are mellow, despite the flavors being robust.

An interesting Strong Ale that's robust in flavor yet subtle in aroma. At 9% abv, the alcohol is evident but not overpowering. A decent, powerful ale, but probably not a brew that I'd seek out.

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Photo of Dewey0603
3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark brown/mahogony with a large tan foamy head with some small lacing. The smell has roasted malt,alcohol,and dark fruit. It's not too strong,but not bad. The taste has alot of dark fruit,alcohol,roasted malt,coffee,and abit of a hop bite. The m/f is medium with all the flavors mixing pretty well. A good beer,it maybe could use some cellaring,but still not a bad brew.

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Photo of ericj551
4.08/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The Hairy Eyeball pours a deep red/brown with a sticky pale head. Smell is a deep fruity maltiness. Dark raisins, plums, and caramel with a twinge of hops. Taste is rich and malty, the same dark fruits I smell plus a nice light roasted flavor. Not overly sweet with the maltiness, just right in my opinion. There is a nice juicy hop bitterness and flavor as well, balencing the malts. A slight alcohol flavor warms as it goes down. I had this for the first time at the EBF and I will certainly be buying more in the near future.

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

The beer pours a ruby red/brown color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a warm, malty scent that boasts of crystal malts and a slight raisin aroma. The taste is good. It has a smooth, burnt caramel flavor that goes down easy and finishes rich and warm. It has a roasted/raisiny finish. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a good strong ale. It's full flavored and packs a punch.

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Photo of Phatz
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

'The hairy eyeball'
Meaning: A glance made with partially lowered eyelids. This usually indicates suspicion or hostility but may signal other emotions too.

Thanks to HombreWing for hookin me up with this beer.

Appearance: Pours a dark mostly opaque brown whit hints of red hues, tan head and spotty lacing, a few swirls will coat my snifter glass with more droopy lacing.

Smell: Oh … sweet molasses. Port, brown sugar and woody smoky toffee and orange rind with spices.

Taste: IT is malty and spicy with earthy flavors of toffee, leather tobacco, molasses, brown sugar and even grapefruit. The warm alcohol balances the sharp sweetness. The aftertaste lingers on unceasingly.

Mouthfeel: Warm and sharply sweet with some pokes and prod of alcohol and dryness in the finish. Mostly it full and malty; chewy, in the mouth.

Drinkability: This is the perfect nightcap for a sweet tooth. It is very sweet!

Hope this is helpful.

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

Lagunitas hairy eyeball. $3 with grad school id at Porters pub. They have the whole blondie album playing here. As a child who grew up with an older sister who played this so I'm happy. On to the review. Deep dark opague red/brown. Medium sized head. Nice lacing. Some malt in the smell. Slight citrus hops. Taste is sweet at first as the sugars hit you followed by a very dry finish from the grapefruitlike hops. A little on the sweetside but the hops do a decent job of balancing it. Mouthfeel is on the chewy side with a viscosity that coats the tongue in a nice way. I'm digging this beer drinkabilty is deceptive. I think I could probably pound this but the alcohol underlies each sip. Similar to the Brown Shugga, though not as sweet

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Photo of younger35
3/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Drank out of a Nonic from a 12oz bottle.

Appearance- Poured a clear dark honey mahogany. Almost no head and poor lacing.
Smell- Has a very sweet roasted malt charactor. Very light cherry, appleish fruit aroma that reminds me of a barely wine. Strong alcohol tones.
Taste- Very sweet, candy like taste reminisent of burnt sugar. Dark roasted caramel malts are the first to show followed by a fruity hop bitterness. Finishes semi dry with a very strong alcohol aftertaste that leaves a bitter stickyness on the back of my tongue. More of a barley wine to my tastebuds than a strong ale.
Mouthfeel- Very fine carbonation. Almost a sticky feel to it with warming alcohol evaporation.
Drinkability- Not the best. Almost to sweet to wholly enjoy. Has to strong of a alcohol undertone. I'd be curious to try it after maybe a year or so of aging.

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Photo of Blakaeris
4.2/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours clear, but very dark mahogany with a fluffy white head that dissipates quickly leaving only slight lacing.

Smell is strong roasted malt, sweet with brown sugar dark fruit and generous woody notes. Definite underlying alcohol.

Taste is on the sweet side with roasted malt, and a strong oak character which brings out a touch of vanilla and makes this brew dry and a little sour lingers throughout the experience. Piney hops grab your attention. Then the flavor mellows to more like an English style olde ale with interesting dark fruit and alcohol flavors. Finish is dry and crisp.

Mouthfeel is medium full, chewy and dry.

Overall a very interesting beer full of complexity. The woody, malty character keeps me coming back for more. A tasty treat that I will pick up again.

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Photo of Stoneman78
3.68/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance- Dark red color; small creamy off-white head that is mostly diminishing; fair lacing throughout

Smell- Nose of rich dark, roasted maltiness; caramel, coffee, and molasses tones, light hop aroma

Taste- Strong, roasted malt consistent with aroma; bitter and dry throughout; strong lingering alcohol feel across a long aftertaste

Mouthfeel- Full body, oily texture, lively carbonation

Drinkability- Heavy body and high abv ideal for ideal for slower drinking; This is definitely a capable entry in the Strong Ale category, but I can't help but compare it to its cross-state colleague, Arrogant Bastard, which it falls somewhat short of in quality and flavor.

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Photo of bashiba
2.98/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a nice dark reddish copper color with an inch of creamy tan head that showed nice retention and a small amount of lacing.

Smell was dominated by alcohol, dark malts, and sour cherries.

Taste is a strange mixture of bitter nutty malts, dark sour cherries, and a strong hot alcohol taste. Has a tinny metalic bitterness to it.

Mouthfeel is hot and dry with a cloying quality to it.

Overall not great, I was expecting more as this replaced the very good brown shugga in the seasonal line up from Lagunitas.

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Photo of Gavage
3.72/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: clear bronze and mahogony red color. Thick and fluffy 3"+ head lasts forever which was surprising for a higher alcohol beer. Some decent lacing developed.

Smell: caramels and chocolates are mild and soft on the nose.

Taste: dark chocolate, caramel candy, hints of molassess and prunes, alcohol, and a strong bitterness make up a hearty and warming ale.

Mouthfeel: lightly crisp and dry throughout. Long aftertaste as the flavors just last on your tastebuds. Medium bodied.

Drinkability: warming alcohol and hearty flavors make this a slower sipping beer which is great on a cold winter evening. Very tasty and worth picking this one up.

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Photo of indy169
4.35/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this one on tap at a local watering hole and it very much impressed me. Cloudy and rich dark amber color, this is a quite impressive looking beer. Upon smelling this beer, I was again very impressed. The high alcohol content helped the smell travel. Taste was very hearty but not too heavy. This beer is a creeper, so be careful.
I highly recommend this one.

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Photo of HoustonTX
3.8/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Large earthy malt and caramel in the nose. The body is a foggy ruby color with a large gray tint. Head is adequate. Smell is dominated by malt. As for the taste, I can just say it's the definition of a Strong Ale. This beer packs a punch. It will put hair on all parts of your body, and of course especially the eyeball.

Taste has a nice milk chocolaty malt flavor about it, with an excellent mouthfeel. Tootsie Roll? Yeah, let me see that Tootsie Roll. Just a large amount of malty heavenly goodness, along with some gigantic Cascade hops in the background. Nice hop sceheme, citric and floral. All while maintaing near balance with the huge malt dosage.

A damn solid American Strong Ale.

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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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