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: 2,752
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 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 RBorsato
4.42/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Auburn with Ruby highlights / Creamy Tan Head leaves sticky lace. Malty (caramel-like) Aroma and slight hop aroma. Intense Maltiness along the lines of a Barley Wine. Definite Alcohol presence. Full bodied, slick, viscous, smooth and creamy!

I would have put in the American Barley Wine category but it prob fits both styles fairly close.

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Photo of McNealc31
4.41/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

With a big head, this brew from Lagunitas is a deep brown with copper edges. The nose is very malty with dark fruit and some hot alcohol.

Big and malty like a Trappist quad, there are a ton of complex flavors going on here. Sweet malt, dark fruit, butterscotch, and a dry finish that presents some hop character.

Very smooth and creamy, this is an outstanding beer, and the best I’ve had from Lagunitas.

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Photo of TheHoppiest
4.41/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a squat 12 oz bottle into an oversized snifter. I've only ever had this at beer tastings, somI am looking forward to having a chance to sit down with this beer for a few minutes.

Pours a beautiful mahogany, with flashes of ruby as the beer is swirled in the glass. The head is minimal, like swirling wisps of smoke above a garnet lake.

Has a fruity, yeasty smell, with notes of dried apricot, grapes, and candied cherries. The yeastiness is rather pronounced, overlaying a sweet malt.

Yeasty and malty, as you'd expect from a strong ale. Caramel and toffee, figs toasted in butter and brown sugar, and hints of tannic fruit combine for a warm, slick brew.

Full bodied, this is a definite sipper with not much bitterness to finish it off.

As with most beers Lagunitas makes, this brew reflects a lot of hard work and thought, along with quality ingredients, resulting in a tasty and enjoyable beer I'd gladly drink again.

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Photo of snoopy5023
4.41/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

lagunitas hairy eyeball: great tasting, would not hurt to buy and let sit for a year or two to become very potent. Has a brownish/redish hue. Nice head that dies down pretty moderately. Taste very bourbon like and you can smell it. It taste more than a 9.4 ABV beer. As stated above, would not let this sit no more than 1 or two years, actually, a year and half. Overall still great, would buy another one.

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Photo of RacerX5k
4.41/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I dont know what everyone else is drinking but this one is outstanding. Beautiful color, big malty aroma followed by big malty taste. Apples and pears, not very hoppy. Thats ok and I wonder if the lack of overbearing hops influences the lower scores a bit. Perfect for this time of year, great mouthfeel, easy drinking, yet packs one helluva punch. Delicious.

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Photo of muchos
4.41/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Burgundy-brown with a soapy head.
Fruity, woody nose, chocolaty as it warms.
Pungent malty sweet taste. Chocolate, wood, burnt sugar. Bitter sweet aftertaste. Delicious. I like it a lot.
Medium to full bodied. Surprisingly dry finish.
Like every Lagunitas beer, highly recommended.

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Photo of LADaveBN
4.41/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2013 and 2009 side-by-side at Churchkey in DC. The '09 drinks like a barleywine. The '13 still has a subtle hop presence. Both are excellent. Although boozy. Served near room temp.

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

OK. Now this is what I am talking about.

Color: Nice amber to gold.
Aroma: malty with hints of coffee and spice
Taste: HOMERUN!!! Big, full, just what I am looking for. On the first taste I wasn't sure because I had to get past the very nice malty flavor. But on the second taste all the flavors came together and made this very enjoyable.

"bartender, another round down here."

This is another great beer from Lagunitas.

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Photo of Gigantis
4.39/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a tulip.

Medium brown color with a nice very light brown head. Some reddish/amber hues. Good head retention but not much lacing as the beer disappears (more quickly perhaps than it should).

Smells like malty burnt brown sugar and molasses. Good dark fruit, hoppy undertones. Slight alcohol smell.

Taste expands on the scent. Carmel malts and barley with some of that fruit and sugar... Great hop balance at the end coupled with oh so slight booze burn. Excellent! It doesn't taste as sweet as it smells, which I consider a good thing.

I expected a more syrupy feel from the makers of Brown Suggah! Not so here. Medium bodied with very good carbonation. I thought they got this just right.

It's more drinkable than it should be. Not heavy at all yet still very flavorful. It compares very favorably to Arrogant or Double Bastard if that is your thing. I would say it's as drinkable as either and, honestly, better than.

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

Appearance – Clear but very dark ruby black in color with a monstrous head that must be respected (else you will be cleaning up your floor). The head is big, beautiful, and tan, with good retention and some cool lacing.

Smell – Oh, mama, this one is big. The huge, caramel malts are just the start. You’ve got “brown shugga” types of sugars here along with some oaky notes and a light hop balance.

Taste – This is heavy-duty from start to finish but also quite smooth. The huge sweetened malts from the nose come out in the taste like they were aged a few years in American oak barrels. There’s a subtle hint of bourbon as well.

Mouthfeel – Exceptionally smooth and full-bodied, this one will get your lips smacking and your salivary glands watering. My mouth is sticky from tasting this ale. It is big and chewy.

Drinkability – This is an excellent effort at the style from Lagunitas. It is velvety smooth, strong but not excessive, and goes down amazingly well for a nearly 9.0 ABV BW.

Update – I originally rated this with an ’03 vintage so thought it would be interesting to review it again with an ’04 (drank in Jan ’05). This really is an easy-drinker, and the big sugary malts make it dead-on for the style. Well done, Lagunitas!

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

This one poured a very dark amber almost brownish color with some big beige head and good lacing on it. Smells like heavy malt with a bit of alcohol coming through, not bad though. Taste is rich roasted malt and molasses. Not much alcohol taste coming through which is good. This is on the high end of a medium mouthfeel. It's a little thicker beer but it goes down smooth. I definitely liked this beer and will look for it again. For being 9% alcohol, it tastes great and goes down very easy.

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

Poured into a snifter.

4.5 A: Opaque dark brown with a tan colored head. Good retention and lots of lacing.

4.0 S: Nose is very perculiar. Biggest aroma is Spaghetti O's. Tomatoe sauce, orange, other light fruits and a strong vegetable component.

5.0 T: This is very tasty and very complex. There's a caramel backbone with a dozen fruits and vegetables contributing. Flavors that stand out are orange, tomatoes, and plum.

4.5 M: Good carbonation. Nice and creamy. Well done.

4.5 D: What an odd and surprisingly awesome beer. This is tasy enough to drink several more times.

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

Poured this into a Stone Imperial Pint glass.

Pours quite well for a finger and half thick, and has a dark ruby red colored body that is cleanly filtered.

The aroma is quite smoky, figgy, and a bit of caramel too.

Taste wise it's sugary... Maybe brown sugar to be exact. The smokiness is there too. There is a good balance between the hops, which show up a bit on the citrusy side.

There is a good amount of carbonation here, and is actually a bit wetting to the palate. The burn of alcohol is not detectable, which makes this a bit of a dangerous beer. Much too easy to consume for the fact of being a higher ABV'd beer.

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

12oz bottle bought in December 04. The label on this one lists the ABV at 9%. Poured into my Nonic a deep, cloudy, ruby red with about one finger of head. Carbonation is almost zero, but the lacing on this is incredible. Smell is currants, plums, dark cherry and a hint of alcohol. Similiar to Double Bastard but less alcoholic. Taste is smoooth, a huge punch of sweet malt that is punched in the head by the 56.7 IBU's. The alcohol is well hidden in the taste and only manifests itself through the pleasing warming after it goes down. This beer is dangerously drinkable even at 9%. This has become my favorite offering from from Lagunitas. Here's Lookin' Atcha'!

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

A- 1/2" tan head on a DARK red body and when held to light clear dark ruby body.
S- Big malt body with still good balance from citrus hops. Grapefruit hops, and sweet toffee body, some grass hops.
T- Citrus hops with malt body. Balance each other out pretty well but hops still winning. Light bread malts too. Grapefruit and orange hops. Very tasty!
M- Full body medium carbonation.
D- Very tasty. I wish I would of bought one in Cali.

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

Pours a dark reddish-brown that has an off white head that has good retention and very good lacing. The smell is a pleasant sweet smell of sweet malts, sugars, and some dark fruits. The taste is caramel, molasses, followed by a nutty and maple flavor, than get some raisins mixed in and it finishes off with a slight citrus taste at the end. The after taste is a sugary sweetness mixed with a little bitterness from some hops. The mouthfeel is nice and creamy, but thanks to the sugars it becomes sticky on the lips and tongue. I know this has 9.0% ABV according to the beer bottle, but can hardly taste the alcohol and the good taste and balance makes me want to drink more than one, but I only bought one for $1.99 plus tax and deposit. For those who have not tried this go out and buy one and I think you might buy another.

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Photo of kbub6f
4.38/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Noisy, dark yellowish tan, crusty head. Dark, dark red-brown beer. Deep fruity, hoppy, tangy, caramel/toffee nose. Huge hoppy, alcoholic, buttery, grainsy front. Chewy, chewy, malty middle. Some chocolate, not too sweet. Roasty, grainsy, bitter finish. Alcohol warming. Man, I like this beer a lot. It's a nice, big malt (but not too sweet), big hop badboy.

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Photo of climax
4.37/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The Hairy Eyeball... hhhmmmm, summons an interesting mental facade. Lets dive in. The color was a transparent chestnut brown, a sturdy mocha head was alive at the top.

The nose was one word, malt. The complexity of the aroma was quite impressive. Bolder flavors of cocoa, cookies, and biscuits were up front. As it warmed and I dug deeper, the breath of cinnamon, peat moss, bourbon, and earthy hop dryness surface.

The flavor was as expected, complex and full of live. The alcohol was evident, which was never strong, but just added a dash of warmth. Smoke and roasted dark bread flavors lingered throughout. Roasted nuts, cinnamon butter, and ripe fruit all live within, excellent.

The body was thick, still easy to drink. The carbonation was perfect, the feel was syrupy in the mouth, and chalky through the finish. Would make an excellent winter warmer, or a fantastic dessert.

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Photo of mmmbeer
4.37/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. stubby bottle; 56.7 IBUs. It pours a mildly-hazed (unfiltered?) deep crimson, with medium carbonation and an inch of light yellow/brown head that leaves some moderate lacing. Smells of dark, alcohol-soaked fruits, vinous, caramel and molasses malts, red berries, nuts, and maybe some sweet cookie batter. It has a pungent flavor of vinous malts, pecans, dark fruits, grains, caramel/molasses, and citric/piney hops that deliver a fairly high bitterness. The body is medium, oily smooth and drying, with medium carbonation and a fairly long finish. Overall a nice, comparatively smooth strong ale that would pair excellently with a slice of pecan pie.

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Photo of mvanaskie13
4.36/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a chalice, color is darker amber to brown, head is tan, dense, thick, small bubbles, some nice lacing and a lingering 1/8 inch.

Smell is smoooooth malt, light toast, light toffee, light bread, wonderful; hops are present, but subtle, light grass flavor.

Taste is also smooth, no booziness, flavors are malt, but not overly sweet. Main flavors are toffee, bread, toast; hops are more amplified in the mouth, but still clean, grassy, not overpowering. this is an amazing taste quality at 9+% abv.

Mouthfeel is exceptional, very balanced, not lingering sweetness that is cloying, solid clean bitterness to cap of the tasting.

Overall, an exceptionally smooth, full flavored ale that is deceiving in its strength. Great pick for the coldest day of the year.

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The Hairy Eyeball from Lagunitas Brewing Company
3.86 out of 5 based on 2,752 ratings.
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