Hairy Eyeball Ale | Lagunitas Brewing Company

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Hairy Eyeball AleHairy Eyeball Ale

Brewed by:
Lagunitas Brewing Company
California, United States | website

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

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Reviews: 956 | Ratings: 2,646
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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Photo of uberabr
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4.5

I've been wanting to try this for a while now...

Poured from a 12-er into a pint. Appearance is a deep blackish burgundy with bright red hues. Big 3-finger caramel head settles to about a finger, leaving some good lace behind. Smell is lagery, a tad on the bitter side but not "hoppy" per se. There are some mild hints of fruits indicative of cacade or another low alpha hop- apples, banana, and mango- all very subtle, and nothing really special. Taste is rich, silky and buttery. Deep caramel and
molasses play off a complex array of subtle bitter notes and delicate fruity malts, along with roasted oats, barley, and some citrusy booze twang. Mouthfeel is decent but too oily, leaving you with a sticky tongue. Ironically, this adds to the already stellar drinkability.

My only real complaint is the oily mouthfeel on the tongue, but the taste and drinkability more than compensate. Also, the taste seems to come together a lot as it warms, so give it time. Overall a pretty tasty brew. I'de really like to try it on tap.

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Photo of BeerNinja007
3.93/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into my beer mug.

A: Pours a dark brown which reveals a mahoganny hue when held to the light. Compact tan head of small bubbles, 1 finger high leaves thick lacing as the glass is swirled.

S: Sweet, candy-like aroma up front. First impression: cotton candy. After that, caramel is readily apparent, as is a hint of coffee.

T: Dark roasted malts, a little molassas, sharply bitter hops in the finish. The hops in this reminds me of Sierra Nevada's Bigfoot Barleywine. No sign of the candy-like sweetness from the aroma, not nearly as sweet as I suspected it would be.

M: Relatively thick and pleasing, leaves a slick feeling on the tongue. Carbonation is just a tad the light side, but not bad.

D: Hearty, full-bodied, filling.

Conclusion: A good brew, I certainly wouldn't turn it down if it was offered to me. Not amazing enough that I'll make it one of my regulars though. But I will remember it and may get it again.

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Photo of jwc215
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Ours ruby orangish brown - similar to deep cranberry with a thin head that becomes a patch, but returns sith a gentle swirl of the glass.

The smell is of caramel, soft dark fruits and an earthy dough.

The taste is malty - caramelish, sweet grains, and a touch of brown sugar. It is soon enhanced/balanced by a mix of dark and tropical fruits. Sharp spiciness comes from a variety of wintry spices - nutmeg, clove, cinnamon(?). An underlying doughiness ties it together. Spices and hops strong enough to add to balance and flavor, while leaving it with an overall malty character. This is complex and rich - the flavor interact well. Alcohol is fairly well covered for abv - just enough to add a soothing warmth. Rich finish. Flavor, especially maltiness, lingers for a long time.

It's full bodied and silky smooth. Has a creaminess about it with a mellowed alcohol dryness.

This is a wonderful winter brew. Very flavorful. A nice one to enjoy in the winter. Be careful though, the alcohol level is about 9%, though it seems a bit less.

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

Poured a deep amber color with moderate off-white puffy head. Little retention.
Smell is very strong on malt with caramel, toffee, and molasses notes detected. Very Tantalizing.
Taste also shows a strong malt character, with loads of dark fruit also evident. (plums, raisins, dates) . The caramel and toffee in the nose are also in the taste. Very nice.
Very full mouthfeel, with a long lasting richness and creaminess, and an enjoyable taste retention.
Very easy, almost too easy, to drink for abeer of the alcohol content.
Truly an excellent beer. Very fitting for review #1100.

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Photo of abcsofbeer
3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a stubby 12 oz bottle no bottled on date. The appearance is a nice ruby amber color with dark shading in the corners. It is topped by a two finger lite brown head that really sticks around a while. The aroma is sweet cherries and malts.

The taste is nicely hopped with some accompanying bitterness and medium malted flavors. There is some nice fruitiness and ginger spice along with some slight alcohol flavorings. This is a good one that I would gladly drink again.

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Photo of cheers2beers
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: This beer pours a mahogany brown hue. The tanned pillowy head stacks up to a nice two finger height and maintained a good head retention as well. A few columns of beading can be found inside and no laceing to speak of.

Smell: The aromas of sweet malts are very fragrant. This has some fruity aromas with some citrus and floral hops. Light alcohol in the nose. Hints of chocolate can be found as well.

Taste: The flavors consist of a citrus bitterness, roasted malts, caramels galore and the alcohol seems to be well masked for an 8.8%.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a high amount of carbonation. Creamy, smooth with an almost dry finish.

Drinkability: This is another good beer produced by Lagunitas. If you haven't had this yet, I say go get it. It is worth the trouble.


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Photo of oberon
4.22/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a nonic a deep ruby color with a dark brownish tint a quick to form one finger slight off white head atop,great balance and complexity in the nose deep brown sugar and alcohol dipped dark fruit intertwined with spicey/grassy hop really trying to hold up to the malt...advantage malt but a close call.Big and warming with great flavor and balance gummy,juicy malt with that brown sugar and raisin-like quality finishing resiny and piney inducing great hop burps.I love these kind of big American brews insanely balanced,big and bold with great complexity,Lagunitas rocks!

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Photo of bigdeuce
4.01/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I like this one, without a doubt. Needs to be available all year round. Pours an opaque reddish color. Almost black at top fading to red. Nice looking. Doesn't smell like much, only drawback. Nice smooth, silky taste for a strong ale. High hops kick in at end but they simmer quickly, making it easy to drink. Dangerously drinkable, as I am drinking it as quickly as a California common! Highly complex brew with plummy taste and a great pleasure to drink.

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Photo of bruachan
3.86/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

the color is a deep mahogany--mostly brown. the aroma is ubiquitous; i don't need to get my nose too close to pick up the great smells. sweet crystal and victory or biscuit. US hops waft in, too

the hops offer more to the flavor than aroma. a sharp tingly bitterness punches fairly far forward and sits on the tongue. big IBUs. it seems dry, though not thin. in my eyes the malt element can't keep up with the hops. i can't tell if it's weak or the hops are just overdone. there are some nice flavors but i wish i could get some more of these

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Photo of ttfreek
3.32/5  rDev -14%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Semi-dark beer with a red tinge. Small head. Goes down smooth, with the taste of malts and a slight fruity aftertaste...maybe cherry? It is also sweet at first, but finishes with a bite. Surupy aroma as well. Strange beer, but in the end, nothing too fantastic or surprising. The 9% ABV is hidden well.

A peculiar aftertaste leaves the mouth dry. Not a bad beer, but i am not sure i would go out of my way for it.

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Photo of shirfan
3.08/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Dark but clear garnet with a thin layer of sticky tan foam.

Soft aroma, only traces of brown sugar and dark malt come through.

Taste is also mild for a big beer. A caramelized malt flavor leads the way, giving in to a very finely carbonated mouthfeel with some light, leafy bitterness. Alcohol warms at the end without getting "hot".

This is an odd brew, in some leftfield purgatory between porter and pale ale, with an overly large ABV to be sessionable.

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Photo of Bierguy5
3.83/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Boston's Bistro. Dark mahogany with ruby highlights. Thick tan head holds together very well. Nice patchwork of lace left on the side of the glass. Citrusy, toffee, and dark candy fruit in the aroma. A bit of floral hops as well. Rich toffee, sugary, a bit syrupy, along with fruity flavors. Nice amount of flavors here. Good amount of citrusy bitterness. Pretty well balanced. Finishes a bit dry. Not may favorite from Lagunitas, but good.

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

Dark red, approaching brown, body. Two fingers of dentable tan foam.

Sweet aroma, candied sugar cookies, a wee bit of alcohol.

Taste begins extra sweet, not just caramelly, put with a dusting of pixie stick. Not cloying though. Dark fruits washed in a light syrup. Enough hops to achieve some balance. Warming "fire in the belly".

Thick mouthfeel. Good drinkability, but two at a time might be a limit.

Good winter warmer, don't be put off by the name.

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Photo of travelfrog
4.13/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I saw this title, and had to give it a try on tap. If I have symptoms tomorrow morning in keeping with the name, I'll edit this and update you. ;)

A very nice looking ale, almost black in color with a white head. The head dissipated quickly, which I suppose is not surprising for this type of ale.

You could definitely smell the alcohol in this brew. The bouquet was almost analogous to Kahlua.

Flavor was quite nice, with notes of chocolate and port wine. The finish definitely had the quality of gingerbread to it.

Mouthfeel was good. A nice, full-bodied texture, maybe a bit briny.

Drinkability was OK, but not great, with lots of acidity and sweetness to deal with. Then again, as potent as this brew is, that might not be a bad thing.

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Photo of mcallister
4.45/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The looks of this beer are different and enticing. A burnt blood orange color, very clean, with many stagnat particles about. Head is thick, 2 fingers and an odd orange cream color.

Wonderful layered, complex, sweet, fruity aromas abound. Candied peach, with grapefruit, and orange, lead way into more citrusy floral hop aromas, which are than taken over with a maple brown sugar aspect that really adds to the complexity. Caramel and toffee, with milk chocolate, and hints of fig, raisin, and other dried fruits as well.

This is one fine beer maybe may favorite by Lagunitas I've had the pleasure of sampling. One word can sum this one up "complex". There is so much going on I could go on forever with the different sensations this beer contrives. Citrusy grapefruit, hints of orange, peach, then it goes into a big maple, brown sugar, raisin, fig, various nuts, floral hop, hints of alcohol, layered malt and so on. Basically a never ending plethora of flavors.

Mouth is the only thing waining as it could be a little more round but besides that this tasty treat could satisfy my palate all night long.

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Photo of williamherbert
3.7/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a quite dark and opaque brew. Has a hint of dark, smoky red glimmering through. A healthy head with minimal lace.

Has a nice, deep, rich malt smell. Smells like a strong ale all right, but with a nice hop accent. Has the ever-so-slight hint of a cherry/berry element.

Contains a bit of that winter ale pungent sweetness. Has a minor cherry flavor, but that is balanced by a solid hop presence. (The hops come out more as it warms up.) Actually has a nice, rich sweet/bitter balance.

Medium bodied, but the flavor gives the feeling of a stronger ale. Coats the tongue in the afterglow. It's a decent, competent brew. The sweetness can be a bit overwhelming, but the bitterness and strength of the brew is a good balance. It is a one-n-done beer, though; can be just a bit much.

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Hairy Eyeball Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
3.86 out of 5 based on 2,646 ratings.
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