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: 972 | Ratings: 2,751
Photo of Truh
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Spoke with animals like the Beastmaster with this one on 4/2/2005. 16-oz. Lagunitas glass pint pour at the [AC]PH.

Finger thick foam at start settles to a lightening film with some very nice lacing. Real mahogany brown hue, on the darker side, and quiet before the storm still ness to the whole affair. Real fungal hop presence on nose, with some fruity notes as well but on the whole the bouquet is quite sedate, which is surprising given the style. Real caramel shot up the nose on mouth, with a mix of crushed and smoke roasted walnuts, finishing with a hop vine of bitterness. As the pour warms, some slightly buttery aspects come to the fore. Like it a lot.

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Photo of grapemaster
3.65/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Hello, what have we here? I said to myself as I poured out a deep auburn brew. I thin tan head caught my eye and said..."I am going to be a tasty beer" The smell was smooth and sweet, just like many other things that I love. The smoothness carried over fromt the smell to the taste, under the guidance of a sweet, somewhat carmel taste. It was strong and and bold and overall a nice beer.

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Photo of santoslhalper
4.4/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearence: Pours a lovely dark ruby with a thin, beige head.

Smell: The smell is of sticky sweet malts a nice amount of hops that add a needed touch.

Taste and Mouthfeel: The first thing I taste is an incredible caramel flavor. Lucious and smooth, it's well rounded by the warming alcohol. The hop bitterness has a sharp bite at the end which is quite enjoyable. The whole way through this is a very sweet beer. The mouthfeel is thick and full.

Drinkability and Overall: This is another excellent beer from Lauginats. It's the second of theirs I've had (bother Barleywines), and while the Gnarlywine was a little better, this is still a kick ass brew. Full of flavor and complexity, yet incredibly smooth and well balanced. Thanks to my buddy GClakrage for yet another wonderful beer. This one is a keeper for sure.

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Photo of droomyster
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark reddish brown, cloudy copper. Small brown head that recedes quickly but not completely, leaving an attractive skin of foam over the top, quick, lively carbonation. Strong smells of ripe cherries and molasses. Tastes of very sweet and chewy malts, a bit too sweet for my taste, and yummy nuts. Lovely mouthfeel of medium-heavy satin. Long sticky finish and hops that finally come out and express themselves as pine and black tea. Hints of milk chocolate emerge in the finish after it warms. The high alcohol in this brew is well hidden in the nose and mouth but definitely warms the gut. I'm rating the last bottle of a six pack; it took me the first five for this beer to grow on me because the sweetness was just too much, but now I find this beer pretty pleasant.

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

Clear, crimson coloring, with a healthy tan head on top.
Aroma is rich and sweet, port-like, dark fruits, yeast, and spice. Heady.
Tastes...delicious! Huge flavor, dark fruits aplenty, cherries and grapes, berries and melons, lush and and tasty....zing, zing, zing, zoom, zoom, zoom...very tasty...9%? 'zat'all?
Full bodied, long, rich, fruity finish.
A really nice barelywine. Creamy, richly rewarding, just like a barleywine ought to be...big thumbs up from me.

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

Not available here in Wichita.

Appearance: A muddy, amber-brown beer with hints of red when a little light forced its way through the murkiness. A tan head less than a finger high rose up with a very rough pour. The foam disappeared quickly, but a coarse patch remained floating about on the surface for a long time. The lacing was sparse.

Smell: Thickly sweet caramel and toffee right after the pour. These remained, but were eventually joined by dark cherries and an odd milk aroma. Not that creamy smell that comes through in a lot of stouts and porters, but actually like a glass of milk that has been sitting out. It was odd, but it eventually faded. A little bit of wood and creamy chocolate rounded out the aroma.

Mouthfeel: A medium-body that thinned out a little as the beer moved back into the mouth. Kind of light for a barley wine. It was buttery on the tip of the tongue and remained smooth.

Taste: Roasted nuts and cherries kicked things off. Some sweet caramel rose up in the middle to smooth things out. The finish was lightly bitter with some alcohol coming through as well. The cherries rose up again in the aftertaste.

Overall, the flavors seemed a little thin and sharp. I was given this from a friend who had it cellared. Not sure of its age, but it might have been past its prime. There was no way to tell from the label when it was bottled. Still not bad, though. It grew on me the more I drank.

Thanks, Rob!

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

Dark yet clear mahogany pour with zero carbonation. Thick tight tan cap. Thin lace that was accentuated with some swirls.

Aromas of berry & melon scents. (Reminds me of some STONE house flavors.)

Fist swigs: Sugary chalky berry and nary a malt to be detected for an 8.8% ABV heavy hitter.

Feel is soft and spongey.

Last swigs: Creamy cherry & malts kicker. Short on complexity. On tap at TDR Springhouse. This is an American Barleywine.

Beer is good. Happy heavy beering.

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

While perusing the local Spec's this brew caught my eye (no pun intended) and I just had to pick it up because it seemed so offbeat.

Pours a very attractive reddish amber, with a slightly tan, rocky head that lingers for a bit. Aroma of citrus and pine, but with a definite malty sweetness underneath. Looking forward to trying this...

Taste is very...interesting. First impression is piney hops with a strong malt backbone. Flavor ends with a pronounced sweetness and fades into a dry, bitter finish. Medium body, with medium carbonation. The 8.8% ABV is pretty well hidden in there. A very drinkable brew.

Overall, a very solid ale. Not necessarily a groundbreaking or extremely memorable beer, but a very well balanced brew that is great with a steak.

This bad boy just gets better as it warms...damn!

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Photo of marc77
4.13/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Crystal clear deep ruby hue. Two fingered, dense and steadfast cream white head. Thick, coating lace remains. Lightly buttery sugar cookie and raspberry hints upfront in aroma are accompanied by mellow notes of sugared biscuit and dark toffee. Restrained and well rounded aromawise. In flavor, incipient is a toothsome combination of strawberry tart and dark lovibond caramel. Bold, yet winsome hop bitterness offsets malt sweetness aptly. Mid palate nutty brittle and biscuit malt flavors surface agreeably, adding malt depth and extension to the dryness facilitated by the hop bitters. Understated woody and lightly floral hop flavor persists throughout. Nearly full bodied, but at a low enough viscosity to permit effortless sipping. As the beer warms, hints of red apple esters complement malt derived sweetness. Finishes with a surge of cuspate hop bitterness and trace vanilla notions fleeting quickly. A rather delicious brew that sits dangerously softly on the palate. Although Hairy Eyeball lacks the complexities of a top notch barleywine or strong ale, its cleanly crafted nature will most likely make it a staple of mine while it lasts. Tasty, indeed.

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Photo of Billolick
4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the venerable Collins bar in midtown NYC. This sipper poured dark amber, with shimmering highlights. It boosted a tan head and left fine, well developed lacing. This is a hoppy/malty bulldog of a beer. tasty and well balanced. Solid malt package in counterpoint to a respectable hop wollop. Full bodied, Obviously well crafted. Well worth a try.

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Photo of watermelonman
3.62/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This poured to a nice deep ruby with a medium head that faded but didn't disappear. The lacing was pretty thin.

Most of the flavors here are pretty good. Molasses and alcohol both come through pretty strong. The mouthfeel is a little thin and sharp, and the drinkability takes a bit of a hit from the readily apparent alcohol.

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Photo of sulldaddy
3.61/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

ANother score from Watermelonman!
I am drinking a room temp sample in a snifter poured froma 12 oz bottle. The beer pours clear mahogany witha 1 cm beige creamy head foaming up easily. Aroma is relatively sweet with maple syrup and caramel mixing with mild grassy hops. I actually get abit of funky smell as well. This scent fades as the glass sits. NOt sure where it came from but more enjoyable when it is gone.
First sip reveals an average body with light gentle rolling carbonation. Flavor is similar to nose some sweet caramel and toffee with grassy hops and a bit of peppery alcohol on the finish. Overall nice and well balanced.

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Photo of Beaver13
3.93/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle. Pours a glowing copper with a creamy tan head that keep a thin cap that laces the glass.

The aroma is earthy malts with some chocolate and toffee and some alcohol and peat notes. A little citrus and brown sugar comes out as it warms. I did notice some metallic notes every couple of whiffs that knock down the aroma score some.

The flavor is toasted malts, with some toffee and chocolate and a little smokiness. It has a crisp bitter finish. The alcohol is well-hidden. It has a nice full and velvety mouthfeel.

Overall, a good malty brew! Kind of like a Scottish ale.

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Photo of 99bottles
3.55/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: On-tap. This has a dark brown, chestnut body and what appears to be pretty low carbonation. Only a lacing of tan on the surface remains.

Smell: Very heavy malted scent, also very strong smell of sugar.

Taste: This is interesting. Syrupy and thick from the malts, with flavors of carmel and molasses at the front. Dark fruit, and especially carmelized sugar. Within that are a fair amount of hops, decently bitter and citrusy, but almost not strong enough to balance the malts and wooden taste. I don't know. It's definitely something new. Vanilla and oak flavors come on as it warms. Interesting beer, but maybe not my favorite.

Mouthfeel: Not as cloying as the taste would lead you to expect. This stays full bodied but the carbonation keeps it drinkable.

Drinkability: I'm all set with one. It's actually a nice beer with lots of complexity, but I just can't bring myself to the point of saying I really enjoyed it.

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Photo of mzwolinski
3.99/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Deep amber in color, with just the thinnist wisps of tannish head. Very lightly carbonated. The beer gives off a toasty malt aroma with cherry-like fruity undertones. More toasty malts in the flavor, which develop hints of brown sugar and spice-cake flavors. Some fruitiness follows, sort of a cross between rum soaked raisins and maraschino cherry, but always with a spicy, alcoholic edge. Toastiness returns and combines with a reasonably substantial hop bitterness for a lingering, slightly prickly aftertaste. A bit heavy -- I can't see myself having more than one of these in a row -- but not bad.

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

Looks are dark brown with slightly clear, ruby tints. White, cream foam top. Nothing wildly impressive..

Nose is toasted coffee, but light, with touches of caramel and pungent molassas.

Taste revolts going-bad molassas in pungentness, of slimy toasted malt, molassas, and caramel. Resin. There's something of light hops in the toastiness which creates nice complexity in the mouth and after. Fairly drinkable.

Not that great. And I usually hope for more taste and complexity in a barleywine.

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Photo of allengarvin
3.96/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Lovely clear mahogany color, with a tan head.

Aroma: Low toffee-like malt aroma with a slight nose of citrus hops.

Flavor: Creamy and rich malt flavor, reminiscent of brownies, with a strongly bitter hop presence. Hop flavor is rooty, earthy, and somewhat spicy. Caramel notes are somewhat evident at the end, despite the drying of the hops.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body, actually quite light considering the strength. Full, but not heavy, in otherwords.

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Photo of Dmann
4.68/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Top notch stuff here people. When I poured this beer it was a very dark amber red with a great head that left large ammounts of lacing around the glass. The smell was unique with a mix of carmel malts, various spices and a touch of cedar. This beers flavor was unique as well with a good dose of carmel malt sweetness which opens up into a nice subtle hop bitterness and spice flavors. The mouthfeel is nice and airy and complements the beer very nicely. This is another good beer from lagunitas.

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

I tasted this beer because I like a lot of Lagunitas beers, but moreso because of the ingenious name. It pours a dark red with very little head development. Swirling the glass brings more of the foam out, but it dissipates quikly. The aroma is full of caramel flavors along with a non-descript hop scent and a bit of a cinnamon roll scent. The flavor is very malty with a light hop bitterness at the end. It feels and tastes a bit sandy on the palate with nores of cotton candy and sweet fruits and banana. Overall it's a decent barley wine but it really didn't spark any great desire to have it again. Being an English Barley Wine it is not surprising that the hops are a bit more mellow than an American Barley Wine.

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

Presentation: 12 ounce brown glass bottle with a dark metallic blue twist off crown cap. Cartridge paper quality main label like that in the BA avatar. Listed as O.G. 1.090, Alc 9% by Vol (interestingly the Lagunitas website listed this at 8.8%!!) and I.B.U. 56.7. There is a printed number on the sloping bottle neck but it’s smudged beyond legibility.

Appearance: Dark ruby red with a light haze and some burnished aged copper traits. Decent tan head forms readily from the pour at least 1” deep and thick. Large bubbled surface soon smoothes out as it rescinds. Average carbonation levels.

Nose: Toasted caramel, toffee marshmallows and a grainy whisky odor fill the mouth of my Glass. Whiffs of high alcohols with a somewhat clinical dimension when chilled, which rounds nicely as it warms. Sharp hop aromas.

Taste: Toasted malts, caramel and some brown sugar sweetness at first. Dry alcohol soaked fruit cake middle, with a bitter hop character in the finish. The alcohol rises in the end and reminds you that it’s 9%, or 8.8% depending if you believe the Lagunitas Bottle Label or Website. Either way the spicy finish is warming and tasty, as well as having a lingering sunset hop bite.

Mouthfeel: Nice chewy feel as it warms with some malty caramel toasty bits in the death. Solid, feels like a Barleywine but belies the 8.8-9% alcohol.

Drinkability: Much better and smoother when it reaches room temperature. Solid warming brew that drinks well and makes a great nightcap brew.

Overall: Here’s Lookin’ Atcha’! Beer Speaks. People Mumble.

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

12/24/04- Taken from notes in October of this year. Poured on tap at the Toronado in San Francisco, CA

Presentation- Random pint glass pour.

Appearance- Opaque brown pour with a nice creamy head and very nice lacing.

Smell- Brings to mind the smell of a belgiun. Some dark fruits such as raisins, plums, figs, dates and caramel. A bit to much alcohol in the scent for me.

Taste- Very malty with a sweet chocolate mixed in. Lots of those dark fruits also. Mainly a raisin taste. The hops come into play also. Along with the alcohol which is definitely present.

Mouthfeel- Damn, I feel full after this one beer. I'm going to have another though soon. Pretty lightly carbonated, which is a plus for this type of beer in my book.

Drinkability- Quite and interesting beer with lots of good qualities. The alcohol is very pronounced though. I only had one this trip, but should have had another because it really was a good and interesting beer.

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Photo of beerceller99
4.63/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle from late 2003. Has a copper color as I decant the contents. Nice two finger head which sticks around leaving a beautiful lace. Malty sweet smells along with floral hops.Taste is caramel sweetness balanced by perfumy floral hops with a alcohol bite in the background. Full bodied, the mouthfeel is rich and creamy.
This brew already tastes like a well aged barley wine. Excellent.

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

Pours a deep ruby color topped by a creamy tan head. In the aroma I get notes of crystal malt, and a hint of citrusy hops at the end. Aroma has notes of toasted/ biscuit malt as well. Wow, a smooth creamy body greets my tongue as I take the firs sip of this beer. It is lightly sweet up front and finishes with a fruitiness that reminds me of raisins. There is a slight bit of bitterness in the finish, just enough to provide a foil to the maltiness that is the center-point of this beer. This beer is a very nice, well balanced beer. It is so smooth and well integrated. If you like malt accented strong ales witha bit of balancing hops, then this beer is for you

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

The beer poured crystal clear deep amber brown. The head was off white and fell quickly to the edges of the surface, but laced the glass.

The aroma was malty and sweet with dark fruits as the predominate aroma. In the background is caramel and perhaps a slight bit of chocolate.

The flavor was well balanced with malt and hops. The hopping keeps the malt from becoming cloying, and dark malts like chocolate definitely make up the grist.

The finish was dry and hop bitter, but well done. The body was full.

22 ounce bottle. Very nice to drink and pleasant flavors reside. Not very complex, but that does not detract from a very nice beer.

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Photo of Zorro
4.38/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear but very dark brown brew.

Smell is very malty with hints of a floral hop scent.

Taste is sweet with an earthy oak flavor to this on first taste. Bitter hops assert themselves after the first taste. Flavor mellows after that in to a very strong English style ale. The malt flavors never quite go away. A good compromise choice between Malt lovers and hop heads. Alcohol content is completely hidden.

Mouthfeel is very full.

Very drinkable brew, only negative to it might be its strength of flavor and alcohol. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

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The Hairy Eyeball from Lagunitas Brewing Company
3.86 out of 5 based on 2,751 ratings.
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